CALIFORNIA VALLEY, Calif- San Luis Obispo County is surrounded by agriculture but many people are still going hungry and have little access to fresh food. These people live in food deserts. A food desert is a place with little to no access to a grocery store. There are three here in SLO County and the food bank is making its mission to reach these areas.
It's called a paradox of plenty, people in SLO County are surrounded by agriculture and food but about 44-thousand people in the county are still going hungry. The food bank has set up new distributions in Creston and California Valley. "The population is about 500 out here and across the county 1 in 6 are food insecure and in these pockets it's about 1 in 4," said Wendy Lewis of the SLO Food Bank.
For people who live in California Valley, it's a 50 mile trip just to get groceries and for Briana Mead and her family the thought of not having enough food can be unnerving. "It's really scary, when you hit a hard time and you don't know where it's going to come from," said Brian Mead, a food bank client.
Living this far away from a grocery store can change habits. "Produce only lasts so long so buying things that freeze or dry goods that's important, and with the food bank bringing that out here is a big help," said Mead.
In California Valley there is only a motel and mini mart. Just this past September a family re-opened the store. Owners said they understood the need because they felt it themselves. "We've lived here for 12 years with no market; it was open for 2 years out of the time," said Tammy Forrest, the owner of the store.
While it was closed, people only had the choice of a 50 mile drive, even for something as simple as milk. "We have the essentials here that kind of help people get through for a little bit before they go to town," said Mead.
The SLO food bank has established distribution centers in California Valley and Creston. It hopes to have one running in San Simeon by March.
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:15 AM EDT2013-05-18 15:15:59 GMT
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