Hunger: A growing problem
People in almost every part of San Francisco and Marin, and from all walks of life, can find themselves unable to afford all the food they need.
Although the economy continues to improve for some, wages remain stagnant for others in our communities. Rents are rising and so is the cost of groceries. When placed side-by-side with fixed expenses like rent, phone bills, or child-care, food is often the first line to get slashed in a household’s budget.
26 million ‘missing meals’ in San Francisco and Marin
Our annual Missing Meals Report calculates the gap between the number of meals that are needed by people who are food insecure, and the number of meals that are provided. More specifically, it looks at the annual number of meals provided by the nonprofit sector, the number of meals funded through state and federal nutrition programs, and the number of meals that are purchased by individuals and families through their own resources.
In our two counties, over 11% of meals that are needed are still unaccounted for – roughly 1 in 8 meals – reminding us that we still have much work to do to end hunger.
Not only people who are homeless
Children, seniors, unemployed and low-wage workers make up the majority of those struggling with hunger. Less than 20% of people receiving food through the Food Bank network are people experiencing homelessness.
Seniors are especially hard hit in Marin: One third of Marin’s seniors live on a fixed income below the elder self-sufficiency standard of $27,000 per year to cover basic costs of living.
In San Francisco, the number of people at risk of hunger increased by 4% from 2007 to 2014. In Marin, it increased by 30% during the same period.
More than 49,000 residents of Marin County are in need of food assistance. To help meet demand, we’ve doubled our food distribution in Marin since the recession began.
All geographic areas affected
We distribute food to programs throughout San Francisco and Marin, because hunger exists in nearly every neighborhood. Marin’s far-reaching geography and poor public transportation system leave many low-income residents isolated without easy access to grocery stores.
Many are surprised to learn that there are people in Marin County who are at risk of hunger. In fact, people are experiencing hunger daily in Marin City, the Canal area of San Rafael, areas of Novato, and many parts of West Marin. In other Marin neighborhoods, hunger is less visible but still a reality for the many individuals and families who are unable to put enough food on the table.