The Bay Area’s Hunger Problem

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California Today

A dispatch from 1 of the astir unaffordable places successful the nation, wherever thousands of radical are confronting nutrient insecurity for the archetypal clip due to the fact that of the pandemic.

Soumya Karlamangla

By Soumya Karlamangla

Aug. 10, 2021, 8:53 a.m. ET


Fabian De La Torre, left, and Abe Haba loaded groceries into a client’s car   astatine  a San Mateo nutrient  slope  connected  Monday.
Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

SAN MATEO — Felipe Ruiz Gonzalez pulled into the parking batch and unlocked his trunk, a acquainted ritual of the past 16 months.

He watched successful the rearview model Monday greeting arsenic masked volunteers began to load up his car with groceries.

Cartons of eggs. A loaf of bread. Fresh herbs. A container of squash and peppers. Salami. A gallon of milk. Cans of beans.

Early successful the pandemic, Gonzalez, 66, mislaid his occupation astatine a edifice and his woman mislaid hers astatine a section store. The mates moved retired of their $1,100-per-month flat and into an R.V.

As they struggled to marque ends meet, they began coming present to the Samaritan House, a nonprofit organization, to prime up groceries erstwhile a week.

Gonzalez, who moved to the U.S. from Peru successful 2019, handed maine a worn portion of insubstantial listing the dates helium has received nutrient from the enactment — yesterday was his 58th visit. He hopes to wage them backmost someday.

“We didn’t cognize however we could unrecorded without jobs and money,” Gonzalez told me. “We archer different families astir this place.”

The economical toll of the pandemic has near thousands of Californians without capable nutrient connected the table.


Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

San Mateo County, conscionable southbound of San Francisco and location to the office of Facebook and different large corporations, has experienced the largest summation successful nutrient stamp enrollment successful the authorities since January 2020, with a 41 percent leap successful the fig of radical present relying connected CalFresh, the monthly nutrient payment program, according to bureau data.

The Bay Area whitethorn beryllium location to Silicon Valley and immoderate of the richest radical successful the country, but its income inequality ranks among the worst successful the nation. Of the 10 California counties with the biggest maturation successful nutrient stamp enrollment implicit the past 18 months, 7 were successful the Bay Area.

“The underlying level of request was ever overmuch greater than radical realized,” Bart Charlow, the main enforcement of Samaritan House, told me. “Any hike successful the outgo of thing conscionable pushes them implicit the edge. Covid pushed a hellhole of a batch of radical implicit the edge.”

Living successful San Mateo County is truthful costly that the national authorities considers a household of 4 making arsenic overmuch arsenic $146,350 per twelvemonth low income. That threshold successful New York City and Los Angeles County is acold lower, astatine astir $95,000.


Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

While nutrient banks nationwide distributed astir 50 percent much nutrient successful 2020 compared with 2019, the emergence has been overmuch sharper successful the Bay Area.

At Samaritan House, the fig of meals delivered has accrued by astir 80 percent. At Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, a nutrient slope that serves San Mateo and neighboring Santa Clara counties, their clientele has doubled successful the past 18 months.

“This is the astir radical we person ever served by a precise agelong shot,” said Tracy Weatherby, Second Harvest’s vice president of strategy and marketing. “This request is not apt to spell down anytime soon.”

Weatherby said she thought the pandemic had helped normalize receiving nutrient assistance.

“There were a batch of radical prepandemic who needed our services but whitethorn person been acrophobic astir the stigma,” she said. “We deliberation what has happened is simply a batch of the radical who utilized our nutrient during the pandemic are radical who astir apt request our assistance connected an ongoing basis.”

Earlier this month, Gonzalez began a caller occupation arsenic a transportation driver. But helium was hired for lone 28 hours a week, truthful is looking for further work.

Until then, helium volition beryllium backmost astatine Samaritan House adjacent week.

For more:


Credit...Cayce Clifford for The New York Times

John F. Kennedy Drive, the wide boulevard that cuts done Golden Gate Park successful San Francisco, was closed to cars during the pandemic, transforming it into a pedestrian-friendly paradise. Over the weekend, I saw parents moving with strollers, children learning however to motorcycle and radical dancing successful roller skates successful the mediate of the roadway.

But the aboriginal of the roadworthy is up successful the air. While parkgoers privation cars permanently banned, the de Young Museum, located wrong the park, worries that the closure volition hamper its attempts to regain visitors.

As my workfellow Adam Nagourney writes, “This six-lane roadworthy has go a flash point, pitting 2 historically influential constituencies — taste institutions and parkland enthusiasts — against each different successful a divisive statement astir nationalist space, the arts and the priorities of a metropolis rethinking its aboriginal aft the pandemic.”


Credit...Jungho Kim for The New York Times


  • Toxic smoke: The fume from wildfires crossed occidental Canada, Oregon and California has traveled arsenic acold arsenic Iowa, Minnesota and adjacent New York City. Research suggests that the fume whitethorn turn much toxic arsenic it ages.

  • Heat wave: Washington, occidental Oregon and parts of Northern California volition beryllium nether an excessive vigor ticker this week, with triple-digit temperatures amid already adust conditions.

  • Water theft: California’s godforsaken has progressively go a hotbed for thieves stealing water, CalMatters reports.

  • Wildfires and tourism: Between pervasive fume and closed trails, wildfires are hurting tourism successful the American West.

  • Real estate: What tin $4.3 cardinal get you successful California? Here’s a look astatine a 1938 chalet-style location successful Orinda, a Victorian location successful St. Helena and a five-bedroom location successful Cardiff-by-the-Sea.


  • Low vaccination rates: Just 43 percent of eligible Tulare County residents are vaccinated against Covid-19, according to The Fresno Bee, and immoderate communities wrong the region — called “vaccination deserts” — person adjacent little rates. Community advocates blasted distrust and misinformation.

  • Charges against L.A.P.D. officer: The California lawyer general’s bureau filed manslaughter and battle charges against Salvador Sanchez, a erstwhile Los Angeles constabulary officer. Sanchez was disconnected work erstwhile helium fatally changeable a disabled antheral successful a Costco successful Corona successful 2019.

  • L.A.P.D. detonation aftermath: Since the Los Angeles Police Department accidentally blew up a residential street successful South Los Angeles a period ago, displaced families person been struggling, The Los Angeles Times reports.


  • Mendocino: Despite being located on respective waterways, forested Mendocino has relied connected wells for its h2o proviso for the past century. But the drought crippling the West is drying up the tourer town’s aquifers, The Guardian reports.

  • J.&J. supplement: By the extremity of the week, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital volition supply a supplemental vaccine dose for metropolis residents who person received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to ABC 7.


Credit...Johnny Miller for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Rebecca Jurkevich

This colorful jumble of veggies and mozzarella has everything you’ve ever wanted successful a pasta salad.

Today’s California question extremity comes from Hilary Steinman, a scholar who lives successful Lafayette. Hilary writes:

My hubby and I precocious visited Old Towne Orange, astir 40 minutes southbound of downtown Los Angeles. We ate delicious nutrient astatine Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen (which we discovered is connected the California Michelin Guide!), explored the Hilbert Museum of California Art, and walked astir the quaint downtown country that surrounds Chapman University. Orange is similar a clip capsule to Southern California of the 1950s and 1960s with its charming historical homes, and tiny municipality vibe. It was refreshing to get retired of our car and bask this adorable assemblage connected foot.

I’m looking for the weirdest oregon astir originative ways that businesses, wellness attraction workers and section governments are encouraging radical to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Email maine astatine with immoderate tips.


Credit...Dado Ruvic/Reuters

The Perseid meteor shower, considered 1 of the champion of the year, is coming to a nighttime entity adjacent you.

The champion clip to presumption the shower, which typically peaks successful mid-August, volition beryllium betwixt 11 p.m. Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday, according to the Chabot Space and Science Center successful Oakland. The satellite volition acceptable aboriginal that nighttime truthful the skies volition beryllium other dark, perfect conditions for laying retired a broad and looking up astatine the stars.

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