Hunger Action Month: Local food bank helps San Jose family overcome food insecurity

September is Hunger Action Month, and KRON4 is partnering with Feeding America to help end food insecurity.

San Jose resident Susan Castellanos says she found herself out of work when the Bay Area shutdown back in 2020.

The 34-year-old lives with her 13-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son, her mother, and stepfather.

Her stepfather was able to keep his job working for a landscaping company, but his paycheck, couldn’t stretch far enough for all of them in high-priced Silicon Valley.

The family struggled for several months before her mom found out via social media about Second Harvest of Silicon Valley Food Bank.

“With the food in our house, it was amazing. Seeing my kid’s faces full of joy like wow!”

After being unemployed for about a year, Susan now has a new job as an administrative assistant.

She says their bi-monthly trips to get groceries from the food bank helped get them through a very tough time.

“Susan is just one example of so many folks who found themselves out of work, who were suddenly struggling to pay their rent, pay their bills, and still afford food,” said Second Harvest of Silicon Valley CEO Leslie Bacho.

Relying primarily on donations and an army of volunteers, Second Harvest works with 300 nonprofit partners giving away food at 900 distribution sites throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

While the need for food has spiked dramatically during the pandemic, the food bank’s CEO doesn’t expect this demand to lessen even as the economy begins to sputter back to life, now that the shutdown is over.

“We did a recent survey of our clients that showed 57% of people had less than $100 in savings. So if you could just imagine how hard it is to come back from that kind of economic setback.”

Those at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley believe they will need to provide this same level of assistance for the foreseeable future.

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