Fruits and vegetables in a market. Courtesy Pixabay

Feeding San Diego released a report Thursday showing that one in every six San Diego County children — an estimated 127,000 — struggle with hunger.

“Over 125,000 kids need our help, and they need it now,” said Vince Hall, CEO of the local branch of Feeding America hunger-relief network. “Our kids deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams, but hunger is absolutely debilitating.”

“It affects learning, it affects physical health, it affects behavior, and it affects self-esteem,” he added. “As a community we must do more to close the hunger gap for all San Diegans, but especially for our kids.”

The nonprofit’s report on local food insecurity was based on a national study using data from the Department of Agriculture, Census Bureau and other sources. The study is supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

Other findings include:

  • One-third of San Diego children who go hungry are not eligible for any federal nutrition assistance programs
  • San Diego faces an annual gap of 64,784,900 meals to provide for all local residents facing hunger

The organization warned that Congress is considering changes in the 2018 farm bill that would significantly reduce the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP nationally and CalFresh in California.

“The proposed cuts to SNAP will make an already serious crisis much, much worse,” said Hall. “We are asking all San Diegans to please call their Congressional representatives and tell them that America’s hunger charities cannot fill the massive gap these cuts would create. Families will be left without enough food.”

Feeding San Diego works to feed thousands of children across the county through food rescue programs and dozens of school pantry and backpack food programs focused on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. The organization is San Diego’s leading hunger relief agency.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.