Today Feeding San Diego announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2019, a detailed analysis of food insecurity across the county. The report shows that one out of every eight San Diegans are struggling with hunger and the crisis is even larger among children. Across Feeding San Diego’s service area, one out of every six children, 136,020 youth, are struggling with hunger.

“It is not acceptable that more than 136,000 children are struggling with hunger,” said Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego. “This impacts their ability to learn, grow and develop their full potential. Meanwhile, more than 40% of food is wasted, which is more than enough to close the meal gap. As a community, we must do more to address this crisis. We owe it to our children.”

Feeding San Diego provides 500,000 meals every week to children, college students, adults, seniors, and families of military heroes in partnership with a network of 245 local charities, schools, faith communities, and food pantries, including a partnership with San Diego Unified School District. Last year, Feeding San Diego distributed more than 26 million meals to people in need.

Through an efficient model focused on reducing our impact on the environment, every dollar donated helps provide four nutritious meals to people facing hunger. Feeding San Diego is San Diego’s leading hunger-relief organization, and is preparing to launch its “Fuel for Summer” campaign to keep children fed when they lose access to school meals during the summer months.

“Since our partnership with Feeding San Diego began in 2011, I am proud to report that we have distributed over 4.7 million meals to people in need at San Diego Unified School District campuses through school pantries, backpack programs, regional school break meals and Summer BBQ days. The impact of hunger on children is significant. Until we can get the meal gap to zero, San Diego Unified will continue to work in partnership with Feeding San Diego so we can provide our students with the support they need,” said Cindy Marten, Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District.

Map the Meal Gap 2019 uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

Key local findings:

  • 136,020 children living in San Diego and Imperial counties are estimated to be food insecure, representing 1 in 6 children
  • One third of these children are not eligible for any federal nutrition assistance programs
  • San Diego faces an annual gap of 65,872,600 meals to provide for all local residents facing hunger

The study’s findings underscore the depth of need that remains in communities in San Diego and across the United States. Food insecurity is a measure defined by the USDA as lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.

This is the ninth consecutive year that the Map the Meal Gap study has been conducted.

We would like to thank San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) for helping us make this important announcement at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School (AHES). We were honored to have Superintendent Cindy Marten and Board President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne join our CEO Vince Hall at the podium. Similarly, we would like to thank Principal Diana Grijalva for graciously hosting us and speaking at the event. Lastly, a special thanks goes to Ramonita Maldonado, a parent at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School, for participating. 

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