Food insecurity through my lens

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By Stephanie Otero, CEO of Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino

As a child, I suffered from food insecurity.  I am all too familiar with the impact and ramifications that being hungry can have on a child’s life.  Serving as the CEO for over five years at the largest food bank in the Inland Empire, Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB), I’ve learned that the faces of hunger are within our very own communities, and they look no different than you or I.

When you are hungry, nutritional needs are not always met and not always a priority. In addition, experiencing hunger as a child can feel isolating and demeaning. Having lived through the experiences of standing in line at a food bank for food, the opportunity as an adult to serve and support those who are facing hunger, was not only meaningful, but very personal to me. 

There are over 570,000 people in Riverside and San Bernardino counties that are living below the poverty line. Many don’t have enough money to buy food for tonight’s dinner or tomorrow’s breakfast. Some families are living paycheck to paycheck or are just now re-entering the workforce, which takes weeks to adjust to.

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For the past 41 years, FARSB has fed millions of individuals; giving them food and hope. We didn’t do it alone, though. Our neighbors who were in positions to give stepped up, our volunteers helped to ensure food could safely reach the community when it was most needed, and our local nonprofit partners established regular programs to assist those directly on the front lines.

Supporting the organizations that are working to keep food accessible and available is crucial to ensuring that our communities and those who call it home, can thrive. Here at FARSB, just $10 helps to provide up to 70 meals to families facing hunger right here in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. 100% of your donations stay in the Inland Empire and help your neighbors most at risk of experiencing hunger.

To donate and learn more about the hunger-relief programs in your community, visit www.FeedingIE.org. Thank you for your support. Together, #WeFeedtheIE.  

*Opinions expressed in Guest Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views of IECN.

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