Since the start of the recession, the number of people who rely on the San Diego Food Bank has tripled. Now, the county's first line of defense against hunger is being threatened by budget cuts.
For the past 10 years, between 250 and 300 people come to the North Park Recreation Center once a month to get the food they need to get through the month. This same scenario is duplicated at 144 other centers around the county.
Before this program, Gloria Richardson had a tough time buying food after paying her living and medical expenses.
"I would be taking one or two 'no-eat' days during the month because I didn't have enough food to go around," said Richardson.
This San Diego Food Bank program that helps more than a 100,000 low-income San Diegans is now being threatened, as is the program to help low-income seniors.
A combination of budget cuts passed by the House and the end of stimulus funding could reduce the San Diego Food Bank's supply by 5.9 million pounds next year, the equivalent of 4.6 million meals.
"These programs provide a vital safety net and should not be on the negotiating table," said San Diego Food Bank CEO J. Scofield Hage.
Rep. Susan Davis, who represents California's 53rd District, voted against the House bill and visited the North Park Recreation Center Thursday to show her support.
"I know that if these dollars are cut more, that shrinks the package they will receive," said Davis.
One food package currently has about 10 items, but budget cuts will reduce that to half. As for the seniors program, the Food Bank can't cut the amount of food they give out, so it'll be forced to cut nearly 1,900 seniors from the program.
"Why spend money on bombs and weapons and killing each other when people should be being fed?" said Food Bank client Richard Horseman.
Horseman and others who rely on the Food Bank signed a petition appealing to the U.S. Senate to stop the federal cuts from going through.
The San Diego Food Bank hopes others more fortunate will also help by emailing or calling their senators.
If you'd like to donate to the Food Bank, visit www.sandiegofoodbank.org/donate
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