One In Three Go Hungry
Thursday, November 7, 2002
The largest-ever survey of hunger in California, conducted by UCLA and publicized this week, reveals that 29.4 percent of Central Coast adults struggle to put food on their tables. The term for what they''re suffering is "food insecurity," defined by the survey as "lack of assured access to enough food through socially acceptable means."
Leslie Sunni, executive director of the Food Bank, translates: "It means they may participate in the WIC program, or get food stamps, or use our services at the Food Bank. This study substantiates what we already know--we have more and more people seeking food assistance."
Although the UCLA study combines figures for Monterey and San Benito counties, Sunni says the problem is the same for both. "We have one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state," she says.
One of the goals of the study, Sunni points out, is to raise awareness of the need to widen the state''s food stamp program, which is, she says, underutilized.
"The face of hunger has changed dramatically in the past four to five years, with the working family not having enough money to meet basic needs."
In an effort to help more people who may not know they are eligible, the Food Bank office at 815 W. Market St. in Salinas will begin accepting food stamp applications weekdays between 1-3pm, "to see if we can capture some of those folks we are now missing," Sunni says.
Cities Against War
The Peace Coalition of Monterey County is stepping up its campaign against U.S. military intervention abroad by asking local cities to pass resolutions opposing a war with Iraq. This Tuesday, activists Darby Worth and Meighan O''Brien, went to the Carmel and Monterey city councils respectively, to ask that such a resolution be placed on the agenda of their next meetings. "I''m here to ask that the Carmel City Council direct a resolution to the White House against any pre-emptive strike against the people of Iraq," Worth read out during the public comment portion of Tuesday''s meeting.
If either city says yes, it will follow the lead set by six other California cities--San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Oakland, Berkeley, Arcata and Sebastopol--as well as Seattle, WA; Ithaca, NY; Kalamazoo, MI; and Charrboro, NC, all of which passed such resolutions this past month. And yes, Santa Cruz was the first, although Worth says she didn''t plan on mentioning that to the Carmel Councilmembers.
"If I started talking about Santa Cruz, their eyes would glaze over," she admits.
Worth and O''Brien adopted a "divide and conquer" strategy after being denied a speaking slot at last Friday''s mayors'' meeting in Marina by Monterey Mayor Dan Albert. "We caught everyone as they were going in anyway," Worth relates. "They were all politely cordial."
Worth and Co. hope to ask every local city to consider their anti-intervention resolution. Plans are in the works so far for Del Rey Oaks, Pacific Grove, Soledad and Salinas. Does Worth really think they''ll get any resolutions passed? "Realistically? No. But I''m willing to keep going."
Denham Loses Big at Home
At press time it appeared that Democrat Rusty Areias had barely squeaked by Republican Jeff Denham in newly gerrymandered State Senate District 12--winning by a mere two-tenths of 1 percent. But in the Monterey County portion of District 12, Areias won handily, capturing 16,433 votes to Denham''s 9,881. Denham lives in Salinas, while Areias lives in the Merced County portion of the district. Of the 126,063 votes cast, 23,314 came from Monterey County.
--Sue Fishkoff, Eric Johnson