The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 16 million children face hunger in the U.S. All this month, people are going to see and hear ads talking about Hunger Action Month because the situation is not much better in the Bay Area.
"Together we can solve childhood hunger," says a public service announcement produced by "Cutwater," a San Francisco-based ad agency. The new ads were released Thursday to coincide with Hunger Action Month, sponsored by Feeding America, a hunger relief organization.
The focus is to raise awareness about the issue of hunger among kids. It's a national problem, one that also affects thousands of Bay Area children. They're not the only ones. Food banks like the one in San Francisco say 1-in-4 residents faces the possibility of having to skip a meal.
"Our service levels are just as high as they were in 2010 and 2011," said Paul Ash with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Since the recession, there are more people living in so-called "food-insecure households."
R.J. Hardy is one of them. "I'm actually employed, but the amount of money that I earn is not enough to pay for my rent and balanced meals every day. So, I do utilize the services here at GLIDE," he told ABC7 News.
GLIDE serves three meals a day in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. The charity organization has not seen the number of clients go down despite some improvement in the economy. "Without GLIDE being here, half the people, the homeless, probably would be gone or passed, or just out there," said San Francisco resident Michael Wickliff.
The number of seniors needing help is also increasing. "So every year, we see more and more seniors, more and more adults with disabilities, coming to access our services. We predict a trend that that will grow upwards of 20 percent in the next 10 years," said Jean Cooper with GLIDE. GLIDE serves 850,000 meals a year.
All this month, food banks around the nation are encouraging people to help out. The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is even having a hunger challenge with celebrities and politicians to see what it's like to live on a food stamp budget for five days.