As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy. If you would like your organization featured here, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A task force of the Placer Collaborative Network (a project of Placer Community Foundation in northern California) formed to look at Placer County food systems and identify areas to strengthen it and help families have access to healthy food. Results from several focus groups and an on-line survey culminated in the report. This information will be used as a tool to design training and network needs, to encourage collaboration, and to educate the public on the opportunities to support the systems.
Among the findings:
Over the past five years, applications for food assistance have increased 200%.
Currently, 1 in 8 people in the county do not know where their next meal will come from.
The cause of hunger is the cost and availability of food. People are now regularly relying on food banks as a primary source of groceries, rather than as an infrequently accessed supplemental source.
There are food deserts (locations where low income families do not have access to a large grocery store within one mile of their home) in central Roseville, Lincoln and northern Auburn.
“There is a real need for greater access to fresh, healthy food in our county. Our services are being utilized more and more due to the difficulties our clients face when trying to obtain the nutritious food they and their families need to survive,” said Dave Martinez, Executive Director of the Placer Food Bank.
Veronica Blake, Placer Community Foundation CEO, explained why this information is so critical, “The Community Foundation sees this report as a way to educate the public about what is happening in their neighborhoods. This is an opportunity for local philanthropy to support the work being done around food access.”