Food Community Forum discusses growing problem of hunger, solutions

OCEANSIDE — Hunger is a growing problem that effects close to 1 in 4 people locally and 1 in 7 people nationwide.
Numbers are still climbing, Diane Nygaard, immediate past chair of Oceanside Charitable Foundation, said. “It’s a terrible increasing problem and the resources are not growing proportionate to the need.”
The second annual Access to Food Community Forum held at El Corazon Senior Center on Nov. 10, shared the progress and challenges of stopping hunger. Among the challenges are availability of food, knowledge of local resources and access to get to food assistance programs.
Hollyce Phillips, chairwoman of Carlsbad Charitable Foundation, summed up the event as a looked at where we are and where we need to be.
As a step towards reaching new solutions Carlsbad Charitable Foundation awarded an arts and culture grant to Carlsbad High School to create art that will spark conversation about the problem of hunger and inspire people to get involved in addressing it.
A student film and food market donate don’t dump logo were created.
“Arts and culture may seem a far distance from hunger,” Phillips said. “The focus is looking at how arts and culture can encourage communication and involvement.”
The student film showed that school children, seniors and underemployed workers are some of the faces of hunger.
“Look around the community today every family is impacted straight across the board,” Phillips said.
The film also shared that undernourishment is a significant problem. Limited access to food often leads to unhealthy food choices that do little more than fill up the stomach. A person can suffer from obesity and undernourishment, which gives the false impression they have enough to eat.
“Low nutrition low cost food can cause all kinds of health problems,” Nygaard said. “Kids can struggle in school and for adults work and health deteriorates.”
To encourage food markets to donate unsold food to local food banks and consumers to shop consciously Carlsbad High School freshman Gabrielle Posard created a “donate don’t dump” logo that participating markets can post on checkout registers. The logo is a green knife, fork and spoon bent in the shape of a recycle triangle.
Albertsons supermarket chain has already agreed to post the logo on its registers.
An additional accomplishment to combat hunger was the update of local social service providers listed on the 211 phone helpline. The Oceanside Charitable Foundation initiated the update when it found the helpline list was out of date.
“The 211 updated was a great outcome,” Nygaard said.
The foundation is currently looking into how to make it easier for people to access food resources.