Exhibitors at a Produce Marketing Association’s Food Service Convention & Expo donated 16,400 pounds of fresh produce to The Food Bank for Monterey County. Twelve food bank volunteers “harvested” the fruits and vegetables from more than 160 exhibitors at the show held Sunday at the Monterey Convention Center.
One-fifth of the population of Monterey County now receives food assistance – 88,700 residents annually, up from 55,300 in 2005, according to reports produced by the food bank. The food bank is facing strong summer demand even as it works to recover from a winter surge. Reports show that struggling residents seeking help increased a staggering 45% during the month of February compared to the same period in 2012. This is the highest number of people served in one month in the 20-year history of the Food Bank for Monterey County.
That demand is echoed by Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization of which The Food Bank for Monterey County belongs to. In their most recent report, Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2012, it is cited that of the 50 million people living in a “food insecure” household, meaning their access to enough food for a healthy lifestyle is limited, 17 million are children.
“The PMA exhibitors appreciate the opportunity to give back in this small way to the Monterey County community that makes us feel so welcome each year,” says Kim St. George, senior director of marketing, Taylor Farms, and PMA exhibitor advisory committee chair. “We are in the business of promoting healthy eating, so this is a natural fit for us.”