SF Gate: Among the riches of San Francisco, hunger
Reposted from SF Gate
Written by John Coté
Article originally published by the SF Gate, Nov. 21, 2013
View the original story here >>
Among riches, hunger: San Francisco – never a city for modesty — prides itself on being the foodie capital of the nation, perhaps the world.
By some measures, it’s also one of the wealthiest cities in the country.
But beyond the doors of Gary Danko, Quince and other top-flight restaurants, thousands of people walk these hilly streets hungry everyday, say two new reports.
About 28 percent of San Francisco’s 805,000 residents don’t make enough money – defined as 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or $47,100 for a family of four – and are at risk of losing access to enough nutritious food to maintain their physical and mental health, according to a report by the Food Security Task Force, an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors.
Pinched by economics, and the need to pay for housing, child care, health care and reliable transportation, some people often go without meals.
Across the city’s population, there are 74 million missed meals a year, according to findings presented Thursday to a Board of Supervisors committee.
That picture is a “profound irony” in this wealthy, food-centric city, said Supervisor Eric Mar, who called for the hearing and is currently participating in a “food stamp challenge,” where he will try to live on the about $4 per person per day for a week.
“I skipped breakfast and made myself a lunch this morning,” Mar said, holding up a brown paper lunch sack. “This is one week for me. For others, it’s a reality.”
Part of the problem is that more than 19,000 homes lack full kitchens, making it difficult for residents to store and prepare fresh food, according to one citywide report and one that focused on the gritty Tenderloin neighborhood.
Another factor is that only about half of San Franciscans believed to be eligible for CalFresh, the state version of food stamps, are participating in the program, according to the citywide report.
Complicating matters for city residents is the income threshold to qualify for state food assistance.
Someone working full time in San Francisco making minimum wage – which at $10.55 an hour is higher than the state minimum wage – would only earn about $22,000 a year – too much to qualify for CalFresh.