In Trinity County, California, food can at times be painfully scarce. “It’s a beautiful, remote, rural part of northern California. It’s also one of the state’s most food insecure places, where many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” reports Lisa Morehouse in FERN’s latest story in partnership with KQED’s The California Report.
In the radio story, she profiles Jeff England, director of the Trinity County Food Bank, who distributes food in a “20-year-old truck with a rattling refrigeration unit,” traveling 230 miles in a day, 650 miles a week. He brings produce like cabbage, white onions and sweet potatoes, along with packaged and canned foods.
“Without the food bank, you just go without,” says one volunteer and recipient at the food bank. “I’m on Social Security, and after you pay all your bills, if you have an emergency — if you have a flat tire or anything that needs to be taken care of — you need to wait til the next month. By the fourth or fifth of the month, I’m broke.”
Morehouse reports that more than 10 California counties actually have higher poverty than Trinity County, but Trinity is one of the state’s most food insecure places. In part, she finds, that’s because it no longer grows hardly any of its food. England and his team have more than doubled the amount of food they’re bringing into the county in the last year. The food bank and Trinity County Food Assistance deliver one bag or box of food to 2,500 households each month, Morehouse reports. That’s 20 percent of the county.