The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s CEO Erik Talkin begins his fourth Food Security Challenge starting today, Jan. 28.
For one month every other year, Talkin spends on food only what he could afford using the maximum CalFresh (SNAP/food stamps) benefit for a household of one: $194 per month, or $6.46 a day.
This year, for the first three weeks, Talkin will draw attention to the experience of furloughed federal employees during the government shutdown, local veterans and local college students, respectively.
During the last week of the challenge, Talkin will eat only foods contained in a Foodbank Disaster Food Box to highlight the reality that in cases of natural disaster, many more of us with ample financial resources could face hunger.
“What we’ve learned in the last year is that hunger is a risk for all of us under certain circumstances, whether due to natural disaster or unexpected loss of income like a government shutdown,” Talkin said.
And that is beyond even the much larger demographic that only manages to put food on the table until there’s a car repair or illness with doctor’s bills,” he said.
“This year the challenge will shine a light on several groups we now know are at greater risk for hunger than is widely understood: working families, veterans and college students,” he said.
The Foodbank supplies fresh produce and healthy groceries to food pantries at local colleges including Santa Barbara City College, Allan Hancock College and UCSB. At each of those institutions, about 50 percent of students are food insecure.
Ten percent of California residents, or 4,112,000 individuals, received CalFresh (SNAP) benefits in fiscal year 2017. More than 48 percent of those recipients came from working families.