News Late May-Early June 2022
Baby Formula Shortages: Update:
The nationwide baby formula shortage has caused anxiety for new moms as they scramble to find formula, or to learn what alternatives are safe. For a general communications toolkit on the formula shortages, please visit the CDPH Infant Formula webpage: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/formula .
From the LA Times: "Los Angeles County has purchased $750,000 worth of baby formula that it will soon start handing out at food distribution sites and through outreach programs for new mothers, officials said."
2. CA Legislature Examines Food Price Hikes
The California State Assembly recently conducted a hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Food Systems, to explore reasons for the recent unprecedented rise in food costs and what’s behind them from the perspective of many players in the food chain including growers, economists and anti-hunger advocates. You can see the entire hearing here:
While there are nu
merous take-aways regarding the cause of inflation, the bottom line is we need to help people get the food they need. Some things that were interesting to hear included that inflation would affect California less due to much of its locally grown food (although it would still be bad) and that farm prices are less than 50% of food products, with advertising, real estate and other business factors consuming the lion’s share.
3. Hunger Action Week: Governor Resists Aid to Seniors, Disabled, Immigrants
Advocates called for the Governor to accelerate the increase in SSI payments from 2024 to 2023, and to fully fund Food4All, which would expand CalFresh to all Californians regardless of immigration status. Both of these funding proposals are in the California Senate's budget proposal, but when the Governor released his updated "May Revise" budget on May 13, he only included the original plans to increase SSI in January 2024, and to fund Food4All only for currently ineligible immigrants aged 55 and older.
For Hunger Action Week, Advocates Press for More Funding :
Monday, May 9, 2022 ---By Suzanne Potter
It's Hunger Action Week, and activists are asking lawmakers to use California's wealth for the people's health - and harness the budget surplus to battle food insecurity.
Advocates hope to phone and zoom with all 120 members of the State Assembly and Senate. Their top priority is the Food 4 All bill (SB 464), which would extend CalFresh food assistance to undocumented people of all ages.
Frank Tamborello is executive director of Hunger Action Los Angeles.
"With the double hit of food-price inflation coupled with an expected reduction in public benefits due to the pandemic emergency being lifted pretty soon," said Tamborello, "it's a critical moment to take up our legislators and tell them that they need to use the state surplus to alleviate the continued suffering."
Pandemic-induced poverty has not abated. Statistics show that one in five Californians still struggle with food insecurity.
Gov. Gavin Newsom's budget proposal would put $50 million toward the CalFood program, which helps food banks to purchase California-grown foods.
Becky Silva, senior policy advocate with the California Association of Food Banks, said she hopes it gets bumped up to $120 million in the May 15 budget revise.
"A lot of our food banks are still saying that they're serving double the number of people," said Silva, "sometimes even triple the number of people pre-pandemic."
Wes Saver, senior policy manager with the GLIDE Center for Social Justice in San Francisco, said he would like the state to implement a planned increase for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in 2023 instead of 2024.
"Despite the federal and state interventions, food insecurity in California remains with really deep inequities in communities of color," said Saver. "More than a quarter of Black and Latinx families reported food insecurity, which is double the rate of white families."
Todd Cunningham is an organizer with the Skid Row Food and Wellness Collaborative at the Los Angeles Community Action Network. He said this year people actually experiencing homelessness will be on the zoom calls with legislators.
"Folks who may never have had the opportunity to go to Sacramento in the past can now speak about their lived experiences," said Cunningham. "It results in more enlightened and better-informed decision-making about food policy. The people who are living day to day with the issues make the greatest impact."
The CalFresh program the California Department of Social Services 2022
heard of a white teen with an assault rifle targeting Black people. These shooters are
often brought in alive and unharmed to be arraigned, as they should. Yet, conversely, in
2014, Tamir Rice, a 12- year- old boy, was shot dead by the police in the park. He killed
no one. He was “armed” with a toy gun. He was Black.
These tragedies uncover layers of inequality. For instance, why can’t the police
treat all suspects with the fairness and the humanity that these “good old boys” receive?
Why are the police allowed to continuelly play judge and executioner on the streets
when the suspect is Black?
Why is Buffulo so segregrated? And why did the community have to fight so
hard, for a grocery store? The grocery store they were later terrorized in.
“Tops was there because the community advocated for it and fought for it.
…Buffalo is one of the most segregated cities in America, 17th on a list of 113.
The East Side of Buffalo, east of Main Street, is the area that was part of the
redlining maps that was targeted and designated this is not where you would
invest money. If you look at those redlining maps and you look at the grocery
store retail pattern, they match each other. In other words, the disinvestmentsm
that happened in the 1930s, that happened over the decades, are mirrored even
This comunity was already struggling a long history of segregation and
food insecurity as a result of a systematic lack of investment. Yet they
persevered and fought for a basic huileged man with a hate filled hear and a weapon of
war, completely unsettled a community. A mass shooting; domestic terrorismbased
on a theory of fear and hostility. A theory clearly a result of miseducation,
separation and entitlement.
What do we (Black people) think about these massacres? These blatant
Well, what do YOU think about these massacres?
What was the color of the blood that flowed from the bodies of the ten Black
people gunned down in cold blood in Buffalo, New York in May of 2022?
Was it the green, purple or gold?
It was red. Just like yours. I feel exactly like you should feel; sad, hurt, angry,
worried, and tired. Because I am human. And I have dreams and goals just like they
did. I have hopes and plans just like you do.
I stay prayed up and keep my head on a swivel. I tap into my natural black girl
magic, my Spidey senses and my women’s intuition in an effort to stay safe from gangs,
racists and even the police.
It is cool to ask me what I think, but it is not necessary. You should already know
because you should be just as upset. Equally disgusted. Equally afraid. Last I checked,
bullets had no names on them.
Let me ask you a question: what are YOU going to do about it? Many Black
leaders (even the ones who only dared to dream) have been killed in this country while
under surveillance of the U.S. Government. It is your turn to stick your neck out and
To be anti-racist.
To be unapologetic.
To get real.
To make things right.
It is your turn to work within the system to make the changes necessary to help
your fellow man.
To demand reparations.
To disassemble systems that hurt the poor and the hungry.
To monetize your privilege and begin the necessary repairs..
It is time to vote out members of the government who encourage lies and
Turn off the talking heads on cable 24 hours-a-day who are simply shock jocks
masquerading as journalists. They are making our nation sicker than Covid ever could.
It is time for YOU to stop exploiting my wisdom and my culture and do the work
necessary to make change.