Facts About Hunger

Hunger in San Luis Obispo County

Since the onset of the global pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, the need for compassionate hunger relief in San Luis Obispo County increased significantly. In 2020, the SLO Food Bank distributed a record 5.1 million pounds of food to those in need, a 54% increase over our 2019 experience.

In the months ahead, we look forward to refreshing our understanding of where hunger exists in our region, so we can be there to meet the need. We also want to identify the current root causes of hunger, so we can work with other organizations to decrease the need. As information is gathered and analyzed about hunger in San Luis Obispo County and beyond, we will share that information with our community. The coronavirus significantly impacted food insecurity in SLO County, across our state, and in the nation, and we look forward to learning about our new realities when conditions permit. Until then, we will continue to focus on caring for our struggling neighbors.

Hunger in California

Hard choices must be made between buying food and meeting such basic needs as housing, medicine, transportation, or childcare, and those choices have become harder this past year. While the impact of hunger is not always obvious, its effects are present in nearly all of our communities and classrooms.

Approximately 1 in 4 Californians – roughly 10 million – are struggling with food insecurity. “Food insecurity” is the occasional or constant lack of access to the food needed to thrive.

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Hunger in the USA

Millions of children and families living in America face hunger and food insecurity every day.

  • Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 50 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 17 million children.
  • According to the USDA’s latest Household Food Insecurity in the United States report, more than 35 million people in the United States struggled with hunger in 2019.
  • In 2018, 14.3 million American households were food insecure with limited or uncertain access to enough food.
  • Households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity. Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 10 million children lived in food-insecure households.
  • Every community in the country is home to families who struggle with food insecurity including rural and suburban communities.
  • Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and need to rely on their local food banks and other hunger relief organizations for support.

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Hunger Has A Cure

Join the SLO Food Bank in their mission to alleviate hunger by giving food, funds or time. No matter how you choose to get involved, your efforts make an impact. Everyone can do something to fight hunger in our community.

Hunger Free Communities Grant

The SLO Food Bank applied through the USDA for a Hunger Free Communities Grant that helps access more local produce to feed local food insecure persons and families. Only nine of these grants were issued in 2011 throughout the United States. The USDA responded by offering a Planning Grant that would allow to:

  • Conduct research necessary to utilize local produce effectively, support local agriculture, and understand hunger better in our county;
  • Form an ongoing Food Policy Council which is called the SLO County Food System Coalition, to continue to monitor food needs in the county and help plan strategically for the future; and
  • Develop a plan to fight hunger in SLO County.

SLO County Food System Coalition

The San Luis Obispo Food System Coalition is a collaborative organization bringing together stakeholders from broad and often conflicting perspectives for the purpose of discovering shared interests, common goals, and mutually agreed action plans that serve the common good and provide for low-income persons who do not have access on a regular basis to nutritious food. Click here to learn more.

If you belong to an organization that you believe should be represented in the Food System Coalition, please contact us. Meetings are held quarterly, with the Administrative Committee meeting one additional time each quarter and work groups based upon our goals meeting as necessary.


*​At times during the year, households are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.