June 17, 2020
Food should not be a privilege
“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.”
Even as the region learns to live with COVID-19, it’s already facing a new scourge: Hunger that may grow as rapidly as the virus that triggered it. On May 28-June 2, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 3.7 million households in the Bay Area. More than a third of them, 1.4 million, reported a lack of consistent access to affordable, healthy food. The ratio was higher for families with children, 570,234 of whom suffered from food insecurity, out of about 1.4 million surveyed.*
I never considered food to be a privilege until we started organizing food distributions along with St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County.
As a new employee, I’ve seen first-hand the high volume of people who have shown up for food. Many of them arrive hours ahead of time just to guarantee that they’ll get something to eat. We’ve seen single mothers with little ones, teenagers, men that have lost their jobs, seniors who are unable to drive and take public transportation just to get to us, and individuals from all walks of life.
Last week, hundreds of people showed up to our 4th food distribution. Our office resides in the historic Iron Triangle, which is primarily an African American and Latino community. It’s area that has been severely impacted by COVID-19.
We started the day with 850 boxes of food and 2,800 bags of fresh produce. With the support of St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County, we were able to provide many families delicious fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, onions, carrots, potatoes, and zucchini. Not only that, but non-perishable items, such as canned goods, pasta, milk, and oatmeal, too.
In the end, we had extra food boxes that we gladly shared with other local community partners, including St. Marks, St. David of Wales, St. Jerome Parishes, and Bay Area Rescue Mission.
Just like Pope Francis once said, “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That’s how prayer works.” And that is exactly what we are trying to do.
By Victoria Martinez