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tv   Beyond the Headlines  ABC  November 18, 2012 10:00am-10:30am PST

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♪ ♪ >> cheryl: welcome would to "beyond the headlines". i'm cheryl jennings. today we're talking about hunger. it's hard to believe that a region like the bay area would have a problem with it. but according to collective food banks in the bay area, nearly 730,000 people are using services the food banks provide. that is one in six bay area residents. lack of shipments from federal government is leaving some of the banks with empty shelves. it's happening as demand for food is especially high. laura anthony has details from the alameda county food bank in
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oakland. >> reporter: the empty shelves say it all these days at alameda county food bank. for the first time in long time they had to go without dloovgs of crucial items, like canned vegetables and frozen meats. the reason they haven't delivered commodities to oakland for two months. >> we only received an item the end of july. we are experiencing a a shortage that our clients are feeling. >> normally they would have about one million pounds of usda food on the shelf. now they are down to about half of that. it's the same story in contra costa which rely on usda deliveries. it's not clear if the food is being diverted or not being made available due to the drought in the midwest. but the reality is coming as
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demand and food and the counties remains extremely high. >> more families turn themselves to the food bank. we are a lifeline to them. so in alameda county the need is growing we are serving one in six residents. the majority of which are children. >> to offset the shortage, they are appealing to the public asking them to organize their own food drive and make monetary donations. >> we can turn every dollar that is donated into four dollars worth of food we can distribute. volunteer and lend out and help your voice. call your legislator. there is a lot that can be done to help our neighbors. >> cheryl: joining me right now to talk about the state is allison pratt, director of policies and services at the alameda county food bank. i want to thank you for being here today? >> it's great to be here. >> cheryl: there is such a huge topic. you serve so many people in the
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communities. >> absolutely. it's an insidious problem, hunger. the face of hunger might not be what you expect. we serve many working families. seniors on fixed income. something unique about who we are serving in alameda county and this holds true for other food banks, many families are earning just a little too much to qualify for any type of assistance but still not enough to pay their bills and put food on the table. times have been tough. >> cheryl: i know that the community food bank distributes 24 million pounds of food. that sounds like so much. how bad is the situation right now? >> times are really tough in alameda county. families are really struggling. one of the things we would like
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to do, redistribute farm fresh fruits and vegetables. something that may be surprising half of it is purchased food but the rising cost of food. >> that is why you need cash donations? >> absolutely. right and your food bank which people can find their local food bank at bay area is very efficient. we can take every one dollar that is donated and stretch it to purchase four dollars worth of food. >> cheryl: tell us more about the fresh food program? >> cal fresh is the new name for the federal food stamp program here in california. hunger is a solvable problem and cal fresh is part of the solution. the problem is only half of eligible people in california are participating in this really
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great nutritional program. >> people afraid there is a stigma to it? >> we have data that says people are not aware of the program or something they would qualify for either because they are working or own a home when in fact many of the families who qualify are working families. >> cheryl: i know that, you mentioned the variety of people you serve. how many of those clients are children? >> 42%. it's by far our largest single demographic. if you combine the number of children and seniors we are serving it's two-thirds. >> cheryl: that is really wrong. what are some of the other challenges that food banks encounter. rising cost of food. the money situation? >> yeah, i think there is just less donated food out there. so again, it means we have to purchase more food.
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cuts to public safety net programs has been impacting food programs. when programs are cut, struggling families need to rely on their local food banks more. >> education that people need about hunger, when i was reading those statistics over 700,000 people. it's almost the size of the city? >> yes, it is. >> cheryl: how do you educate people about that? >> it's having this discussion this morning is a really great start. it's about raising the collective consciousness. it's the number one problem that is facing our community. it's such an essential building block that people are well nourished so to be able to participate in the work force and children will be city in classrooms and learn and participate. >> cheryl: one of the things we saw in the story that people can come by and volunteer?
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>> yes. we need volunteers more than ever. with all of that fresh produce that they are distributing now, it's very great product and we need a lot of helping hands. >> cheryl: can you come in on daily basis or once a week? >> you can visit bay area i know alameda county food bank we run several shifts each day and we need volunteers each day. >> cheryl: so you can accommodate schedules? >> yes. we can accommodate groups, fun thing for businesses or community groups. >> cheryl: hopefully we can encourage people to join in as a team. we're out of time. thank you so much. yes, we will continue and what it's like to have low income families to have nutritious food all the time.
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how does it work? >> it's a result of community efforts. the center opened its doors ten years ago and starred with a handful of volunteers. what happened the needs have become expressed by the clients the program has been developed. it's very grassroots time of atmosphere. we are really trying to address those things that is most needed and most helpful. >> cheryl: how do you make sure it's good nutrition? >> it's very difficult. that is all due to money and what is donated. the healthier the food, more expensive the food. food and fuel prices have grown dramatically and that has impacted the food distribution program, as well. we're trying to target those low salt, low fat items and lots of protein.
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then accommodate fruits and vegetables coming in so we can really tarring what they need. >> cheryl: where do you get fresh fruit? >> from everywhere, to backyard gardens to delivery from a farm. >> cheryl: what are the demographics of the people you serve? >> when you have a client or donor or volunteer, don't sure what they are there for. it's such a mix. over the last year we've seen about 99 new families each and every month. previous to that during the height of the recession we had hundred families so we have dropped only by one. the people we're seeing, seniors and adults with disabilities, lots of single moms and, of course, children. >> cheryl: so you walk in the center, you don't know who they
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are, whether they are volunteer or a family, what can they expect. what is the process? >> the first thing they learn to expect a smile and friendly atmosphere and respectful tone. we've learned over the years that everyone is just sometimes a way that was said or a moment away a disaster away from being put in a situation where they needed a pantry like ours. i think respect, trust, providing a little ray of hope for them is the first thing. then they are going to provide their identification and we're going to see where they are and what they need. what is the base a line and where we go. >> there is income criteria? >> 99% of our clients live three times below the median. >> cheryl: they are really hurting. >> they are living on $800 to $1200 a month. multiple families living
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together. people who had jobs a year ago had a good income two years ago. now, they have lost homes, lost jobs and loss a car, lost their self-respect and dignity. that is sometimes the hardest thing to walk in the center and regain that. >> cheryl: it's at beacon in the night? >> it is. >> cheryl: you have had success stories? >> we have. some of the first kids from the center that would never had a chance to go off to a college have been accepted to four-year college. as a result we receive from channel 7 back in august, 1015 backpacks were donated and kids went off to the school with the right materials and not feeling bad but they felt confident. we have 11,000 families register
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our services over the years. we have clients that have gained employment. back in housing. been able to see their families for the first time in months. it's all due to a community effort and a bonding of not just crisis center but multiple service providers. working together to see that families reach a level of stability. it's huge for them. >> i wanted to issue a challenge anybody that listening, this is emotional to you. this is a family situation. anybody that donates you would really respect them. >> i hope we can help again. >> we have so much to talk about when "beyond the headlines" continue. we want to turn our attention to a group of local mothers that is
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using social media to help hunger around the world. stay with us. stay with us. we'll be right back. you know how much grandma
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wanted to be here for your fist christmas? you see grandma lives waaaay down here, and you live way up here. brian, your cousin, he's a little bit older than you, he lives here, in chicago. and your aunt lisa lives here, in baltimore. uncle earnie? waaay out in hawaii. but don't you worry, we will always be together for christmas. [ male announcer ] being together is the best part of the holidays and cheerios is happy to be part of the family. you just ate dallas! >> cheryl: welcome back. what happens when a group of bay area moms get a firsthand look how foreign aid dollars are being spent in developing countries. jonathan bloom got the chance to find out when he caught up with a group making the difference using the power of social media.
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>> amy is giving away sweet potato muffins because of what they symbolize. >> do you know about world food campaign. >> they sent a handful of mom bloggers to see how money is being spent. a new class of moms went there. >> you come back and complete reorganization of your priorities. >> they visited schools and learned about the challenge of giving kids proper nutrition. they saw the farms where american aid dollars are helping to address that challenge with training and better seeds. >> they are taught how to grow nutritious groups, beats, swiss charred, wheat. >> and, of course, sweet potatoes. >> it's a miracle vegetable that is so rich in nutrients. it can really help the children who are malnourished.
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>> and this is a way to call attention to a serious issue. >> hungry kids can't learn or grow up and inherit the earth and change the earth for the better. >> that is why christine pelosi showed up sending a message to secretary of state hillary clinton that america's most important war is the fight against hunger. >> best things we can plant for peace are the seeds of food. >> cheryl: joining us in the studio right now is amy graff and christine pelosi. i want to hear more about this program. christine, you wouldn't let it go. social media is what it is all about? >> thanks so much for having us here. i met the folks on the campaign
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when i worked in the bill clinton administration. they then were becoming active with bono the lead singer who was concerned about the problem of aids in africa, poverty and hunger and started a drive then which we are continuing this day to see we have 1% of our foreign aid budget that goes to fighting poverty around the world. now, we just had the elections, we continue the administration with barack obama, as we look at this fiscal cliff, safety net in our own country and the safety net we are providing all over the world including africa. >> cheryl: how was the trip in africa? >> had i the opportunity to travel to kenya. we saw how direct funded programs are saving lives. one of the most meaningful days on a potato farm where we met
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with a group of farmers that had come together as a coop. if they work together they could sell the potatoes at the market. one of the farmers, he told me that they grew enough potatoes to feed their families. they grew enough potatoes to make money at the market and send their kids to school and extra potatoes to feed the poor and hungry. sustainable agriculture is the best way to fight hungry. people in africa they want to grow their own food. this is the way to prevent famine. one has a great campaign right now. the thrive campaign. that is raising awareness about a sustainable agriculture and have our leaders put nutrition on the agenda. >> cheryl: so you are not talking about asking for donations. you are talking about picking up
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your cellphone or computer and sending what? >> couple things you can do right now. following up on twitter, find handles on the screen but looking how the one campaign, signing a petition. getting as involved what you need to be. one of genius of bono is his artist ri. he is lewlgs. if you are rich you want your money. >> if you are on twitter we want your tweets. whatever you have to give. we honor those that serve our country that our military plays in feeding people all over the world. in honor of veterans give them a tweet today and give this campaign a tweet as well. >> cheryl: when you were in africa were what were some of the disturbing images? >> went i went to ghana.
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we went to a malnutrition clinic. it's a huge problem in africa. 40% of the kids are stented. they are stented mentally and have irreversible brain damage. there were kids who were -- 14 years old and they looked 8. >> and emotionally and you can't take care of yourself ever? >> yes, exactly. >> cheryl: so it's hard for the country to move forward. >> exactly. the good news, they were feeding these children. they were giving high nutrient foods so they could thrive. they were also teaching their parents how to feed them and giving them recipes. it was really remarkable what was going on there. the degree of the malnutrition
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is shocking. it's really mind-blowing. >> you haven't traveled but in your work you are aware of this? >> absolutely. one of the things that we find over and over again, the hunger in our own bay area and hunger in our country certainly something we have to take on every day. we look at extreme cases of poverty in places like africa and you see poverty and despair where terrorism springs. we understand how important it is that the seeds of peace are the seeds of food. >> cheryl: we have about 30 seconds. what would you like them to go? >> please go to our website,, back member, we will not unundate you with tons of e-mails and we need your voice we will send you an e-mail. we will ask you to sign a
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petition. it will take a couple seconds. will you make a difference and save a life. >> thank you so much. we'll be signing up. coming up next, we are going to tell i how you can get involved and help in the fight against hunger. stay with us. we'll be right back. [ boy 1 ] hey! that's the last crescent.
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>> cheryl: welcome back. we have been talking about hunger. abc7 is proud to do its part in the fight gechx hung where a couple campaigns that you can be a part of. tomorrow we kick off our annual end hunger now initiative. here is couple ways to donate. you, text the word feed to 80077 that will automatically donate $10 or call 1-800-10 food. their names will have them read
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aloud by spencer christian on "abc 7 news" at 6:00. be sure to tune in on october 12th. share your holiday food drive. we're going to be broadcasting all day long from three bay area locations encouraging viewers to donate to bay area food banks. union square in san francisco. santana row in san jose. money is raised. a lot of food is collected to help hungry families throughout the bay area. on wednesday december 12 starting at 5:30 a.m., we will ask you to make donations local food banks. there are seven ways to give. donate online. text the word feed. mail your check payable to food bank abc7 food drive.
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call in your donation to the 1-800-number. find out facebook and like the page. drop off a donation of non-perishable food items on december 12 and meet members of our abc7 news team. scheduled times to volunteer at local food bank. stay tuned for more information about the holiday campaign. that is all the time we have. thanks for all of our special guests to talk what is very important issue. once again more information is available for you on our website at find us also on facebook. follow me on twitter at cheryl at abc7. have a great week and we'll see you next time.
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