Wednesday, April 8, 2009
About a thousand people turned up at the San Diego Food Bank yesterday to receive food and gather information on social services. The crowd was greeted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. KPBS reporter Katie Orr has details.
An increasing number of Californians are turning to food banks and social service agencies for help as the recession continues. The San Diego Food Bank distributed enough food for 20 thousand meals at yesterday’s event. It was part of the organization’s Community Cares program, which brings people and social service providers together. Schwarzenegger says there’s a lot of help available both locally and throughout the state .
“We can help people lower their energy costs and their energy bills or telephone bills or car insurance bills. As a matter of fact I just walked around here and saw all of those great programs that are being offered and people come up to me and say this is fantastic. I never knew I could get this extra thousand dollars or lower my insurance cost,” he says.
Schwarzenegger also encouraged low income people to see if they’re eligible for the earned income tax credit. Nationwide nearly a quarter of those who qualify are not claiming the credit which provides tax refunds of up to 48 hundred dollars a year. Charissa Barton came along with her husband and children. She says the economy has made it more difficult to get by. She says she never imagined she’d need help from the Food Bank.
“We brought with us a family that has a teenager. And we told him this is going to be a lesson for you to learn how much effort you have to put into putting food on the table,” she says.
People attending the resource fair also got help with their taxes and signed up for food stamps. Food Bank officials estimate nearly half a million people in the San Diego area are currently at risk of going hungry.
Katie Orr, KPBS News