In San Diego County, 1 in 7 adults (14%) and 1 in 5 children (22.3%) are struggling with food insecurity. Feeding America publishes an annual Map the Meal Gap report that uses USDA data to measure food insecurity levels and the amount of meals needed at a local level to serve families, children, military households and seniors facing hunger. San Diego County would have to provide 77 million meals annually to ensure adequate access to nutritious food for San Diegan residents. The situation in Imperial Valley, our close neighbor to the East, is even more dire, with 17% of adults and 35% of children facing hunger. It would take 5.3 million meals to meet the need in that region.
Jenny Seneor, Director of Programs for Feeding America San Diego and 2014 SDLA Institute alumna, spoke to KPBS Midday Edition on April 16th about food insecurity in the region. Jenny spoke to the reasons why families in the region face hunger; the lack of sufficient wages for the working poor in the region to make ends meet, the high cost of housing, and the high cost of food locally. The high rate of chronic illnesses such as obesity and type II diabetes amongst low-income families was addressed and the on-going need to provide low-income families in the region access to healthy, nutritious food.
Jenny has worked for FASD for more than four years and oversees FASD’s partnership and technical support with 150 non-profit partners, 32 schools, and 13 Rural Mobile Pantry sites across San Diego County. Jenny advocates on behalf of anti-hunger and poverty legislation with state and federal legislators. With the Programs Department at FASD, Jenny ensures that 59,000 children, and families, and seniors are able to access 25 million pounds of food through FASD annually.