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Study: More Than 130,000 Kids Face Hunger In San Diego, Imperial Counties

People collect food from a pantry at Alexander Hamilton Elementary in City He...

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: People collect food from a pantry at Alexander Hamilton Elementary in City Heights, May 1, 2019.

Feeding America has released it’s “Map the Meal Gap” annual study which found 136,000 children in San Diego and Imperial counties are struggling with hunger. The nonprofit said that is one in six children in the county.

"Food insecurity means they lack access — consistent access to healthy and nutritious foods," said Feeding San Diego CEO Vince Hall.

Feeding San Diego operates 40 food pantries at schools across San Diego. There, parents are able to pick up fresh vegetables, fruit and other items.

Reported by Kris Arciaga

"I incorporate it when I make dinner and lunch and breakfast sometimes depending on what they give us," said Stephanie Partida who has a first-grader at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in City Heights. The school hosts a food pantry twice per month.

"It’s something different every time I come."

Partida said the fresh foods help offset her grocery bills.

"It does actually because a lot of times it’s a lot of fruit and canned food too," she said. "So it’s less fruit that I have to buy and fruit can get expensive sometimes especially apples and oranges."

Partida was able to pick up a number of items Wednesday.

"Beans, corn on the cob, green beans, asparagus and some spaghetti and apples," she said.

Feeding San Diego tries to target schools that need food pantries the most. At Alexander Hamilton Elementary more than 90% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

"Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and hunger impacts them in profound ways," Hall said. "It impacts their learning, it impacts their growth, it impacts their ability to heal from illness or disease."

Feeding San Diego said it is looking to expand it's food distribution programs.

"The availability for donated food is growing faster than the distribution capacity of our network," Hall said. "So we need more nonprofit agencies at the neighborhood level who are willing to partner with Feeding San Diego to help us to rescue food to help us distribute that food to the community."

Feeding San Diego is trying to curb the number of children suffering from food insecurity. One way it is doing it is by opening food pantries at schools.

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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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