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tv   Beyond the Headlines  ABC  November 16, 2014 10:00am-10:31am PST

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it's what i like to do. so you can choose a bank where helping people comes first. chase. so you can. welcome to beyond the headlines. i'm cheryl jennings. today's show is about hunger. it's a silent epidemic that affects seniors, children, adults, entire families.
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the troubling statistic is that 780,000 people in places as affluent as the bay area are at risk of going hungry. five of our bay area food banks are part of a national network of food banks called feeding america. a study by the nonprofit organization found that nearly 49 million people or one in every seven americans rely on food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families. the problem is even worse in the military, where one of every four military families needs some sort of food assistance. nationally, 43% of the recipients are white, 26% black and 20% hispanic. joining me in the studio right now is allison pratt, policy and services director at alameda county community food bank. it has one of the most robust advocacy programs in food banks across the country. so nice to see you again. >> thank you for having me. >> you have been really busy and
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that study we just heard about, one in seven, it's bad enough but the studies you have looked at are even worse in alameda. >> it is. the alameda county community food bank was really glad to have the opportunity to participate in the feeding america study. it is the most comprehensive study of hunger in our nation to date and what we learned about our own community is really shocking. currently, one in five alameda county residents is relying on the food bank to meet their nutrition needs. that's a full 20% of our friends and neighbors who can't afford to put food on the table in one of the most affluent counties in the country. >> it is stunning. who are the families and why is this going on? >> so you know, children and seniors remain the most vulnerable to hunger. we actually, with this study, saw a very significant increase in the number of seniors that we're serving. i think that reflects changing demographics in the community and also just how challenging it is to live on a fixed income in such an expensive area. >> absolutely. and i think that we all talk about the recession of 2008.
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how have you seen things change? >> you know, the recession was really hard on california and californians. one of the impacts was annihilation of our state funded safety net so between 2008 and 2012, $15 billion was cut from state social safety net programs. this is at the height of the recession, at the time when families really needed this help most. this is absolutely had an impact on hunger and poverty. >> is that changing? is it getting better? >> slowly and incrementally i think right now advocates are excited about the opportunity to reinvest in our safety net programs and to rebuild, so we will be working hard on that in the years ahead. >> your job has evolved over the years. what do you do to help make that change? >> so we work throughout the state, throughout the nation, with a broad range of partners. we are looking to pass legislation and to impact budgets so that safety net programs are adequate and
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acceptable to those people who need them. >> you are holding the government accountable. >> we are. the role of government in solving the problem of hunger is critical. so there's a bold new plan. tell me about it. >> we are really excited we have a new five-year strategic plan. it is one of the boldest in the nation. it is a plan to end hunger and it's also a really unique plan because it asserts that the food bank cannot end hunger alone. rather, we need to be leveraging resources from all sectors including the public sector. >> so is there a way the public can get involved, speaking of the public? >> yes. we are excited to be leading the movement to end hunger and it is absolutely critical that everyone is involved. you know, the community can make a contribution to the food bank. food banks are incredibly efficient. for every $1 donated we can turn that into $6 worth of food. come on down and volunteer. we are distributing thousands of
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pounds, tens of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables and these are really high touch items. we need a lot of volunteer help. lastly, advocate. visit us on the web, sign up to receive our online advocacy alerts. flex that civic engagement muscle and help us pass these laws to promote good policy. >> what's the phone number before we run out of time? >> the phone number of the food bank is 800-870-food. >> that's easy to remember. so great to see you again. >> thank you so much for having me. >> we are inviting everybody at home to join us and help end hunger. we do have to take a short break. stay with us. we will meet a family who stood in the food pantry lines and now are spending their time giving back. stay with us.
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welcome back to beyond the headlines. hunger exists in every community in our country. locally, our bay area food banks
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rely heavily on the help of generous donors and volunteers all year long. every spring, for example, the postal service does a lot more than just deliver mail. they also pick up donated food. it's part of the annual stamp out hunger food drive, the second saturday of may. everybody is encouraged to leave nonperishable food donations by the mailbox. mail carriers pick up the donations as they make their rounds. the food then gets delivered to local food banks and charities that provide it to people in need. joining us right now in the studio are former clients who are now giving back to the second harvest food bank of santa clara and san mateo counties, irene bowmont and her daughters, cheyenne and dakota. so nice to have you here. >> thank you for inviting us. >> you know, the food bank does so much good for so many people, did you ever think you would be at a food bank? you are a middle class family? >> no. we never thought we would be. >> so what brought you to the
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food bank initially? >> originally, my mother was diagnosed very ill and we had to move her into our house and take care of her, and we got connected with the second harvest food bank at that time. and they provided her fresh daily meals every single day, they provided her with all the nutrition that she needed. >> was it tough navigating the system, trying to get help? because you're in the higher income bracket? >> it was extremely difficult. we went to a lot of agencies and were turned away, and we finally made our way through and a company in san carlos, an organization in san carlos are the ones that turned us on. >> that's exciting. so people don't realize unless you have been in the situation, when you are taking care of an adult relative, you've still got your kids to feed and got all the co-pays and all the bills. they add up and the money you have goes. >> oh, that's correct. it goes very quickly, at that. >> so was the food bank just a
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godsend for you? >> yes, it was. we can never thank them enough. >> i've got to ask the girls because they are smiling here. let me start with cheyenne. you have become a dedicated volunteer. why is it so important? >> i saw my mom volunteering a lot so i thought maybe i should try it out. when i did i thought it was really fun, people were really happy when i helped them out so it made me feel good, too. >> dakota, do you remember getting that food from the food bank and how it made you feel? what did you think? >> yeah, it was real nice. we had a lot more food when we were really hungry and it was really good food, too. really fresh. >> i think that people just don't understand that hunger can hit anybody at any time. you just don't know what your circumstances are going to be. you all have become the face of the campaign for second harvest. you have a poster that shows you on it, is that right? >> wow. all right. that's great. there it is. look at you. donate today, yes. all right. so dakota, what was your favorite food? what were your favorite foods?
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>> probably the strawberries and cucumbers that we got. >> fresh fruit's important, isn't it? >> yeah. >> yeah. all right. and irene, what is your advice for people in need? >> i think search out a program, the second harvest is out there to help. don't give up. just you've got to keep trying until you have reached the right location. >> it really makes a difference to be aggressive about it, because you get depressed, right? >> that's right. >> you think nobody wants to help you. >> you can't be shy. you can't be embarrassed. and you can't worry about a pride issue, because feeding your family is more important than anything else. >> what do you want people to know about hunger? what it's like to be strapped for that? >> it affects every day of your life. every aspect, whether it's your academics at school, whether it's your fitness, your health, every aspect is affected by it. >> you have a challenge for people at home to get involved. >> yes.
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i would like everyone watching this to either text a donation in or contact, go volunteer at second harvest food bank. we need your help. everyone needs your help. >> dakota and cheyenne, final words from you? what would you tell kids out there who are watching? >> get involved. >> yeah. make sure you volunteer because it's always good to help everyone. >> yeah. >> and you agree. >> yes. >> ladies, so nice to have you. thank you for giving back. you have been there so people can relate to what you're going through. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. all right. good. we do have to take another short break. when we come back, we are going to learn about an innovative food distribution program in san francisco so stay with us. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to beyond the headlines. hunger attacks people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. a recent report showed this a high number of asian pacific islanders in san francisco are struggling to make ends meet and the survey that contradicts this so-called model minority stereotype. abc 7 news reporter vic lee was in chinatown with the story. >> 80-year-old lourdes and her husband lorenzo survive on social security. they live in an affordable housing unit in the tenderloin where their disabled son edward
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and another son who has two kids, making ends meet for this extended family in an expensive city is a tough chore. >> we just spend our money just enough for food, not too much. >> all those findings told us very different story than what people think apis have no need, have high education, have high income. >> reporter: the findings show that asian pacific islanders are the largest minority group affected by poverty, just more than one-third of the 110,000 san franciscans living below that poverty line. what's more revealing is that the number of impoverished apis grew more rapidly than any other racial group, 44% in four years. but what the survey shows is that a third of those asian pacific islanders now live in the west side of the city. districts like the richmond and
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sunset. malcolm young is with the chinatown community development center. >> we need to be going deeper into neighborhoods where we are identifying need instead of just relying on some core neighborhoods to serve city-wide. >> the survey also shows that apis suffer from disproportionately high unemployment. while the overall city jobless rate was 5.4%, 7.3% of asians were unemployed and nearly three times that for pacific islanders and native hawaiians. now armed with these findings, community activists say they will ask city hall for more resources to help those in need. vic lee, abc 7 news. >> here with me now from the san francisco food bank, the executive director, paul ashe and volunteer raul avilan who organizes a healthy children pantry. paul, nice to see you again. raul, nice to meet you. i have known you my entire career. thank you for the work you're doing at the food bank.
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>> it's a privilege. >> how much has it changed over 25 years? >> it's grown, along with the need. it's hard to believe we have to distribute this much food and still have people we're not reaching. >> just the jobs are increasing, supposedly the economy is getting better, and it seems that hunger is getting worse. >> well, what we find is the heated economy actually raises prices and makes it difficult for people who have a fixed income or who aren't working in that economy. >> raul, you have done something to reach children directly, because children and seniors are the most vulnerable. you are the chair of the redding elementary school parent/teacher club. this deals with food. why did you decide to get involved at that school? >> well, i have two children that attend redding elementary school. i have one that's in third grade, one that's in kindergarten. when my first child started there, i volunteered, i wanted to do something, make a change. and i realized that 80% of our
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children or families that attend redding elementary school are low income, meaning that they have free or reduced lunch, 80% of the children who attend redding elementary school. so then a gentleman and i from the after-school program realized we could actually benefit from the pantry. we reached out to sf food bank and organized it and brought it in the following year. >> when you say 80% are dependent on support, what was happening with the kids? were they just not getting food? >> yeah, they just, living in the city is very expensive and our school is located close to the tenderloin so most of the childr come from the tenderloin so most of them are low income, and when i say 80%, 80% of the children that actually attend redding elementary school have free or reduced lunch. so then knowing that, i just realized hey, you know, we can do something, we can bring a pantry in, healthy food pantry in, and provide food for the families to kind of relieve a little bit of their stress.
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instead of having to buy food because it's very expensive in the city. >> you have a large immigrant population there, so i suppose there was a language barrier and maybe not so much of a community feeling. >> correct. >> and that changed, right? >> absolutely it did. i'm glad you mentioned that. yeah. once we started the pantry, we had very low parent involvement but once we started the pantry we started to realize that parents were getting involved and during the pantry, as they were getting involved, as parents would line up, they would start to meet each other and get to know who they are. so that was very -- i really enjoyed that. and now we have a great, great sense of community at the school and everyone tends to really help each other out. >> look what you've done. and a lot of that food comes from your food bank, yes? >> it does. the pantry as raul described really are a center of community. they are done farmer's market style. great deal of dignity so people can choose the food they want. it's healthy food, it's fresh food. so there are a lot of real great
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side benefits besides just getting the food people need. >> one of the things i remember just from years back when we first started doing food bank stories, it was always canned goods and dry goods. now there's a big emphasis on fresh. fresh, fresh, fresh. how do you get the fresh food? >> we are lucky to be on the west coast. we get food all the way from washington down through southern california and arizona. >> from farmers? >> from farmers, growers, packers. in the food bank at any one time, we will have ten or 12 different kinds of fresh produce that go out to the pantriepantr really does feel like a farmer's market. it's all beautiful, healthy and just what people need because produce is very expensive in the stores. >> raul, when you see the kids who are getting this improved food, improved nutrition, how much of a difference are you seeing in them, in their studies? and attitudes? >> it makes a huge difference. normally, i'm assuming but i'm not sure, before the pantry came, i'm not sure whether the children even were able to get any type of fruits or vegetables. for example, this morning, we
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had nice broccoli, we had some pears, we had apples, oranges, we had chicken. you have fruits and vegetables, potatoes, yams. who knows if they would be able to get that. but we do see a difference. we see children that are coming to school and they are ready to study and to learn. >> paul, you have seen this for years that kids, when they get good nutrition, do much better in everything. >> that's right. redding isn't unusual. across the public schools, 64% of the kids qualify for free and reduced price meals so really, every school in the city has needs like this. >> all right. we have to take a break. we have so much more to talk about. stay right there. you stay right there because we will have more with paul and raul when we come back. stay with us.
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welcome back to beyond the headlines. we have been talking about hunger awareness and how our bay area food banks work very hard to help feed our most
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marginalized communities. st. anthony foundation recently opened its new free dining room in san francisco and the dining room gets much of its food from the san francisco marin food bank. city leaders took part in the official ribbon cutting and then helped serve the dining room's first 3,000 meals to low income residents. each will now be better served because of the new building located at golden gate avenue and jones street which has more space. this allows the agency to cook, to freeze and store large food donations for longer periods of time. >> st. francis, make me an instrument of thy peace. it's the anthem of our city. he has made all of you, this board, these people, the people we serve, instruments of god's peace. that prayer has been answered. >> the new dining room will also provide social services for its clients and doubles as a job training program for men in recovery from addiction. st. anthony's serves thousands
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of meals every day and you keep thinking about the hunger, there's so much of it and yet it is solvable. >> it is. it is. >> i want to start with you, raul. who are these people who -- it's not just the homeless. there are a lot of working people there. >> absolutely. most of these families that participate in the food program are just working families that are struggling, you know. both of the parents are working and they still can't seem to make ends meet. we're just providing that extra help for them. >> and some of the people, when i say not just the homeless, i'm talking about those folks who became homeless through no fault of their own and just have issues and thank goodness you have this service there, paul. >> it's one of those private safety nets that we need to have when the public safety nets aren't in place. >> you teach nutrition to make them get better and eat better. >> we do. it's simple, home economics, what we call our pantry to plate program teaches people how to use the fresh produce we provide
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to cook it economically, how to shop better. how to read the complicated labels in the back. i need to read up on that myself. but simple things that makes people's lives better. >> raul, when people who watch this program want to help your school, what would you ask them to bring or to donate? >> i would ask them to donate to the san francisco food bank. because they actually provide the food for us for free. we in exchange don't give them anything so i'm very thankful for that. so if they would definitely donate to a food bank, any food bank would be great, but in particular san francisco food bank. >> all right. so paul, people can volunteer, they can donate money and so many ways to help. >> they can. we have 25,000 people volunteering now and we still need more people to come in and help us do the work we do every day at the warehouse. we need financial donations, if people can make a gift, it helps keep the pantries open. and people donate through the food drive, protein item, hearty
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soup, peanut butter, those things can go out to a healthy food pantry and make a difference in someone's nutrition in life. >> you don't get government funding. >> not very much. we get a bit of government commodities we distribute but primarily are run by private donations. >> so we talked about the working poor, talked about the homeless and paul, you are also working in marin now because there's a huge hunger problem there i don't think people realize that. >> people don't realize it. marin is perceived as a wealthy enclave. people don't realize that there are thousands of low income people, some homeless, some working poor, who are trying to struggle and make ends meet and they haven't connected with their community the way they have in san francisco, so we really need to speak to people about the need in marin. >> as always, if you had one final thought to give people at home, what would you say? >> i would say to get involved, you know, one way or another. get involved in your child's school, get involved, i mean, if you see a need like i did in my school, that we can definitely
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benefit from a pantry, to make it happen and to reach out to whatever pantry is in their neighborhood. >> thank you both so much for being here. appreciate it. and for what you're doing. this is going to do it for us. for more information about today's program, go to our website, abc7news.com/community. we are also on facebook. and you can follow me on twitter. i'm cheryl jennings. thanks for joining us. have a great week. see you next time. bye for now.
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ring ring!... progresso! it's ok that your soup tastes like my homemade. it's our slow simmered vegetables and tender white meat chicken. apology accepted. i'm watching you soup people. make it progresso or make it yourself some people think vegetables are boring. but with green giant's delicious seasonings and blends, we just may change their minds. ho ho ho green giant!
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hi, welcome to "the kitchen experts" show. today we're in a home of a family that has lived here ten years. they desperately needed a kitchen update. it has oak cabinets, fluorescent lights, tile, grout, and it was pretty bad. they basically turned to each other and said it's time. kitchen experts of california has been in business for over ten years. stay tuned because in the next 30 minutes we're going to meet jen, see the

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