Food Bank conducts hunger study | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Food Bank conducts hunger study

Griffin Rogers
griffin@tahoedailytribune.com

Families line up to receive supplemental groceries at American Legion Post 795 on Wednesday.

A hunger study is being conducted during the next couple months in South Lake Tahoe to better determine the need for food assistance in the area.

It is believed that a need for food is growing in the region, but the survey will help the Food Bank of El Dorado County more accurately identify the demand so it can better serve the community, said Food Bank Communications and Development Director Carey Fong.

"Our bottom line is lets feed people, and that's what we want to do here," she said at a hunger response network meeting Wednesday, adding. "At this point, I don't know what our true needs are, but that's what this is going to show us."

Members of several South Lake Tahoe food distribution organizations — such as shelters, senior centers and emergency food pantries — attended the meeting, which was held at the American Legion Post 795.

There, Fong discussed the importance of working together and the history of Food Bank in South Lake Tahoe. But most notably, she talked about the need for concrete data.

"Let's face it, there has been years of speculation on what the need is here in Tahoe. Food Bank included," she said.

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Food Bank is encouraging South Lake Tahoe residents who utilize food distribution organizations, or need food assistance, to fill out the survey. Some of the questions in the study cover demographics, food choices, finances and health.

The survey ends June 30.

John Healey, president and CEO of California Emergency Foodlink, a food provider for Food Bank, was one of the attendees at Wednesday's meeting. He said having "hard" numbers can help when agencies ask for assistance at the state or federal level.

"People want data. They want hard, firm numbers," he said, adding. "We need everybody to get a hold of their senators, get a hold of their assemblymen, and say, 'we support supplemental food. There's not enough to go around. We have people that are hungry.'"

On the same day of the meeting, emergency supplemental groceries were distributed to 197 families at the American Legion parking lot.

"We've got to let our congressman know and our senators, these are real people, these are people we meet every day and these are people who need our assistance," Healey said. "And the thing is we've got to hold government's feet to the fire, but we can't do it without numbers."

The hunger survey, which is only in paper form at this time, can be found at Food Bank of El Dorado County and participating food distribution charities in town.