By Daisy Ding
While the Bay Area is one considered one of the most advanced areas in the country, many residents are struggling to put food on the table.
Jeremy Loader, an employee of the Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, believes this is a very serious issue. “Roughly one in four Silicon Valley residents are financially at risk for hunger,” Mr. Loader said, quoting a study by Second Harvest Food Bank.
Yet even with government aid and community organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank, there is still not enough support for those struggling with food insecurity. “I think that there is definitely a need and that the gap still remains and that there is still more work to be done,” Mr. Loader said. “There are one in four people in the Silicon Valley at risk of hunger, and today we serve one in ten.”
This is an extremely important issue for the Bay Area and has very severe impacts on those struggling with it. Mr Loader said, “Food is vital for our immune systems, our energy, our brain functions. It’s vital to so many areas of our health and wellbeing.”
This issue is especially dire for children. Children “have a hard time behaving in the classroom, let alone having the energy in them, the fuel for their bodies, to learn and retain all the information that they’re learning,” Mr. Loader said. “Children that face food insecurity are less likely to be able to reach their potential growth. They are less likely to succeed in many areas of life.”
Yet, with the affluence of the Bay Area, why is securing basic necessities such as food still a problem for many residents? Mr. Loader explained that the reason that food insecurity is such a big issue in the Bay Area is because of the high cost of housing in the Bay Area. “With rent being such a high proportion of many people’s income, it doesn’t leave enough money for necessities like food.”
However, in the fight against hunger, everyone can and needs to pitch in. Mr. Loader said, “We aim to see a hunger free Silicon Valley and we ask that every individual, organization, corporation, community group within the Silicon Valley consider partnering with us (Second Harvest Food Bank) to help support the most vulnerable in our community with the vital needs such as food.”
Mr. Loader specifically advises individuals to pitch in by finding a starting place. “Choosing some area to contribute and starting there, whether it be volunteering, donating food, but really pitching in and supporting the community where you’re able to. That’s a starting place.”
Due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, food banks are seeing an influx of people in need. The Second Harvest of Silicon Valley website urges those that can afford it to support community members with a financial donation. Every dollar donated will be matched by the Khosla Family one million dollars is raised.
In addition to financial donations, the Second Harvest Food Bank is in need of more volunteers to match the rising number of people Second Harvest now serves. If you are in good health and would like to volunteer your time to a worthy cause, you can sign up here. The Second Harvest of Silicon Valley website does specify that Second Harvest does not “recommend that seniors (65+) or anyone with a chronic health condition volunteer. If you belong to one of these groups and would still like to help the food bank during this time, you can donate online.”
If you or your family is in need of fresh, healthy foods, please visit the Second Harvest of Silicon Valley website. The Second Harvest Food Bank states, “We are in ongoing communication with our partners, staff and volunteers to maintain safe practices that will ensure nutritious food continues to flow into the community. . . we expect to remain fully operational so we can continue serving our community.”
FEATURED IMAGE (at top of post): Second Harvest Food Bank aims to provide residents who are in-need with food. PHOTO CREDIT: ABC7 News