CSU, Chico News

Food Day Today Highlights Hunger in California

Date: 10-24-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Stephanie Bianco-Simeral
Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion

Today, Wednesday, Oct. 24, is Food Day, a day to highlight the movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Food Day is being celebrated in Chico with an afternoon of local, healthy food; a documentary screening; and a lively panel of experts coveringhot topics such as food policy, local produce, eating healthy foods and hunger. The celebration begins at 1 p.m. in Selvester’s Café on the California State University, Chico campus. Food tastings prepared at the Bike Kitchen begin at 1 p.m. The HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation” screening is at 2 p.m., and the panel discussion is from 3 to 4 p.m.

The Network for a Healthy California and CalFresh (formerly the Food Stamp program) will observe Food Day by addressing the millions of Californians who have limited access to food due to lack of money and other resources by promoting enrollment in CalFresh as a way for low-income families to “eat real” and keep hunger at bay.

Americans from all walks of life will come together to talk about health, nutrition and hunger at events across the country and throughout the state. "Food Day is a great time to let Californians know that they may be missing out on receiving benefits that could give their family purchasing power to buy more healthy foods," said Jenny Sharkey, CalFresh outreach director.

“CalFresh is an important part of the solution to our state’s hunger crisis and a necessary safety net for low-income Californians struggling during tough times,” said Stephanie Bianco-Simeral, assistant director of the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion at CSU, Chico. “A recent UCLA study showed that CalFresh benefits stabilized individuals and families struggling against hunger by providing access to nutritious and affordable food during a time when the number of low-income adults in California who could not afford enough food increased. We estimate there are approximately 25,000 more income-eligible families who would benefit in Butte County.”

In addition to helping individuals and families, CalFresh stimulates local economies by returning $1.79 for every $1 of additional CalFresh money delivered to California. It is estimated that if everyone who is eligible for CalFresh participated in the program, the economy would benefit by approximately $2.8 billion.

"By making better choices about what goes in their grocery carts and on their tables, Californians can reduce their risk of obesity and other serious health problems like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer," said Bianco-Simeral. "CalFresh benefits help low-income Californians take home more healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables."

The Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP) at CSU, Chico serves the nutrition, fitness, and health education needs of Californians in the North State. CNAP works closely with community members, public health departments, schools, and farms providing youth and adults with cooking classes and nutrition education, physical activity, and garden-based learning activities. CNAP's award-winning programs provide the cutting-edge science and practice foundations needed to address the obesity and diabetes epidemics. For more information, please visit www.csuchico.edu/cnap and www.foodday.org.

For more information about Food Day, contact Bianco-Simeral at 530-345-8887 or Sbianco-simeral@csuchico.edu. For information about CalFresh in Butte County, call 530-345-9749 or visit www.calfresh.ca.gov.