Food insecurity is not having reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable, nutritious food to live a healthy life.
Food insecurity in San Mateo County is growing. What was already a significant problem has only increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I recently sat down with Bart Charlow, CEO, Samaritan House; Tracy Weatherby, Vice-President, Strategies & Advocacy, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley; and Deanna Abrahamian, Director of Economic Self-Sufficiency, San Mateo County Human Services Agency to discuss this growing issue. You can access our discussion here.
At the start of the pandemic, over 50% of the clients at Second Harvest Silicon Valley had never received food assistance before. In Samaritan House, there were 15,000 clients served pre-COVID, versus 25,000 served during COVID.
CalFresh, formerly known as food stamps, is managed by the San Mateo County Human Services Agency. CalFresh utilizes an EBT card that clients may use at most grocery stores and select online retailers, an important feature for those who are unable to get to a store in person. Another plus is that CalFresh has individuals who speak multiple languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Tagalog), making it possible for people across the cultural landscape to easily speak to someone they understand. CalFresh has also developed an online Nutrition Center with recipes in a variety of languages and culturally appropriate videos.
Organizations like Samaritan House, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley and the San Mateo County Human Services Agency have done great work, but as the holiday season approaches, their resources will be stretched even more.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, there are eight Core Service Agencies to provide basic emergency and support services to stabilize an existing situation. Check out the information below to learn more about these agencies and find the one nearest you.
San Mateo County Human Services
Samaritan House San Mateo
4031 Pacific Boulevard
San Mateo, CA 94403
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
Food Connection Hotline
Food Security in San Mateo was the topic for this edition of Conversations With Kevin. Thank you to my guests:
- Bart Charlow - CEO, Samaritan House
- Tracy Weatherby - Vice-President, Strategies & Advocacy, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
- Deanna Abrahamian - Director of Economic Self-Sufficiency, San Mateo County Human Services Agency