“I am just very grateful for this program,” exclaims PJ Iulio, Coordinator for the onsite food bank at the Hunters View Family Resource Center in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.
Iulio works at the Hunters View Family Resource Center to help educate and provide resources to residents to support healthy living. In San Francisco, particularly in neighborhoods like Bayview-Hunters Point, many families experience food insecurity or the inability to provide all people in their households at all times with enough nutritious food to support healthy living as a result of the expensive cost of living and low wages. For the past two years, EatSF and the Hunters View Family Resource Center have worked together to increase resident access to healthy foods. “A lot of people are on a fixed income and their income for their food doesn’t even last a whole month,” explains Iulio, so, “thanks to the EatSF voucher program, they were able to get a little more and their food was able to last them through the month.”
The EatSF program has provided residents with the resources needed to consume more fruits and vegetables. As a result, Iulio has observed improved health for many participants. One resident with diabetes used their EatSF vouchers to purchase more fruits and vegetables, enabling them to better control their “numbers” and manage their health. In addition, Iulio explains that many families with children in their household commented how, “before the voucher program, their children weren’t really eating a lot of healthy food, again because it being so expensive. So with those families, they were also grateful that their kids are eating healthier because of the EatSF voucher program, allowing them to access and buy more healthy food for their kids.”
According to the World Health Organization, there are three pillars of food security: food resources, food access, and food consumption. In order for all families to become food secure, communities must address all three pillars. EatSF and the Hunters View Family Resource Center’s partnership is doing just that — providing financial resources to allow residents to access nutritious food and, as a result, increase their food consumption.