In the News | MOWSF Blog | Senior Issues
On November 21, Meals On Wheels of San Francisco (MOWSF) joined fellow members of the San Francisco Food Security Task Force and the Tenderloin Hunger Task Force for a special hearing at City Hall. At the meeting, task force leaders shared findings from two comprehensive reports about the growing challenges of food security in San Francisco with city supervisors Eric Mar, David Campos, Norman Yee and Scott Wiener.
The reports – “Assessment on Food Security in San Francisco” and “A Changing Landscape: Food Security and Services in San Francisco’s Tenderloin” – provide data about food insecurity city wide, as well as by district, highlighting challenges and solutions for addressing food insecurity among vulnerable populations. “Unfortunately, in the midst of a city engaged in a perpetual celebration of food,” the report states, “many residents are food insecure, meaning that they are unable to obtain and prepare enough nutritious food to support their basic physical and mental health.”
MOWSF’s Chief Operating Officer, Anne Quaintence, spoke at the hearing, advocating for the hunger needs of homebound seniors. And MOWSF social worker Crystal Booth shared stories about elderly clients making tough final decisions about food. Residents and other community members also shared their experiences and concerns about the state of hunger in the City.
A copy of the report is available at www.sfdph.org/dph/files/mtgsGrps/FoodSecTaskFrc/docs/FSTF-AssessmentOfFoodSecurityInSF-2013.pdf.
Key Findings from the Reports:
- 1 in 4 San Francisco residents (28 percent) are at risk of being food insecure, living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and therefore their ability to attain and prepare enough nutritious food to support their basic physical and mental health is limited or uncertain.
- Nonprofit food programs continue to struggle to meet demand. The number of meals provided by San Francisco nonprofits grew from 27.1 million in 2007 to 34.3 million in 2011.
- CalFresh (formerly food stamps) is underutilized by many who are eligible including families with children in San Francisco: While 26,000 SFUSD children are eligible for free school meals, only 13,079 school-aged children are enrolled in CalFresh.
- More than 45,000 low income seniors and disabled adults in San Francisco who receive Supplemental Security Income are not eligible for CalFresh (formerly food stamps).
- More than 19,000 housing units lack complete kitchens, making storage and preparation of healthy meals extremely difficult or impossible.
- Almost 60 percent of homeless people in San Francisco utilize free meal programs. This is up from 55 percent in 2011. Even with free food resources such as dining rooms and shelter meals, homeless people experience high rates of food insecurity.
- District 6 (includes Tenderloin, SOMA, Mid-Market) has the highest rate of food insecurity in the city, with 46 percent of residents living below 200 percent of FPL. Fifteen percent of households in District 6 lack complete kitchens, making storage and preparation of healthy meals impossible.
Members of the task forces supporting the hearing included Community Living Campaign, Department of Aging and Adult Services, Department of Children, Youth and their Families, Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco, GLIDE, Meals On Wheels of San Francisco, Project Open Hand, Salvation Army, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Human Service Agency, SF and Marin Food Banks, SF Environment, St. Anthony’s, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, and UC San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations at SFGH.