Feeding the hungry: One in four in Silicon Valley considered food insecure

- On Monday night, nonprofit City Team Ministries helped provide food boxes with turkey to 400 families in need this Thanksgiving holiday.

Many families stood in long lines at Gateway Neighborhood Center in Sunnyvale. Among them Florentina Velasquez and her 13-year-old son, who said this year Thanksgiving dinner will be more than their usual meal of soup, rice and beans.

“This means a lot because I have food for almost one week,” said Velasquez. 

Her son, Marvin Hernandez said it's been difficult to see his mother struggle to afford the rising rent of their one-bedroom apartment in Mountain View.

“How she works every day just so I can have an education or just to have something to eat every day,” said Marvin Hernandez. “Sometimes I do feel hopeless. I can't really help her but I will work to help her.”

City Team Ministries said one in four people in Silicon Valley is considered "food insecure.” They said the high cost of living is to blame.

“It’s not emergency food anymore,” said Hermie Smit of City Team Ministries. “They need supplemental food on an ongoing basis and that's a shift we are really seeing here in the Bay Area.”

Smith said it’s been challenging to keep up with demand since a lot of focus right now is helping camp fire victims.

“Obviously there's a lot going on in California with fires and a lot of people have lost absolutely everything,” said Smit. “Some of the awareness of the need in people's own backyards has been drowned out.”

The mascot from the San Jose Earthquakes and the front office staff lent a helping hand.

“I’m fortunate every year to spend time with my family and never wonder if there's going to be a Thanksgiving meal,” said Marissa Silver of the San Jose Earthquakes. “To know we are providing that for so many families is really special.”

As for Velasquez and her son, they picked chicken not turkey since they able to make more meals that way. They're counting their blessings including this meal. 

“It’s pretty amazing how they can provide so little but mean so much for the people around,” said Hernandez. 

City Team Ministries said the air quality has also affected their operations since a lot of seniors with respiratory issues are less willing to get outdoors to pick up food boxes. They are in still in need of 500 turkeys as they hoping to serve more families on Thanksgiving Day. 
 

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