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$100K Grant Will Fund CA Food-Box Program to Fight Child Hunger


Thursday, January 26, 2023   

San Diego may seem like a wealthy area, but the mountain communities in the eastern part of the county still struggle with hunger and poverty.

Now, a new $100,000 grant from Save the Children's Innovation Lab will fund the development of a program to mailboxes of shelf-stable food to low-income rural families, starting next year.

Anahid Brakke, president and CEO of the San Diego Hunger Coalition, said the program has been a big hit in other communities.

"The parents said, 'It's like Christmas.' The kids feel like it's Christmas, you know, they get this food box; you know, it's for them," Brakke explained. "It really helps supplement the whole household."

A team from the San Diego Hunger Coalition is at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, this week to learn best practices from other communities. The funds will also be used to train community health navigators who can help people sign up for programs like CalFresh and WIC.

Esther Liew with Save the Children says food boxes that arrive by mail provide rural communities greater access to nutritious food.

"There's little public transportation in rural communities, meaning that they then have limited access to grocery stores and places where they can get fresh and nutritious foods," Liew pointed out. "That makes it really difficult to provide the food that they need for their children and their family members."

Hunger Coalition data showed about 35% of children in the Mountain Empire region live in poverty, which is nearly triple the rate for the rest of San Diego County.

In a recent community food survey of local residents, almost three-quarters said they would run out of food at some point in the last 30 days and did not have the resources to buy more.

Disclosure: Save the Children contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Education, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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