Congressman Salud Carbajal made stops along the Central Coast Thursday on a day-long "Hunger Tour."
On the agenda were several programs addressing food insecurity in local communities.
Thursday morning, Carbajal visited UCSB's food bank to speak with organizers of the student-run program about college hunger. The food bank has been serving graduate and undergraduate students since 2011.
In the afternoon, the congressman had lunch at Laguna Middle School in San Luis Obispo. The school's lunch program is run by a professional chef and sources its food locally. The program has seen a decrease in costs. Carbajal took time to discuss what the program has meant for the area.
"It checks so many boxes," Carbajal said. "Not only good nutrition, it's good for our local economy, because you're investing in these local sources who are providing the food. It's helping climate change, and most importantly, the health of our children and their future."
In the afternoon, Carbajal is learning about the Agricultores con Buena Salud (Healthy Farmworkers) Program in Santa Maria. The program is organized by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. It provides groceries, fresh produce, community resources and education to farmworkers in Santa Barbara County.
"We've definitely seen that there is a lot of need for the farmworkers," said Santa Barbara County FoodBank Assistant Director, Jaqueline Valencia. "As you know they are the ones who are picking the produce for us but they are not getting help so community health centers helped us to come together and bring more of these food distributions and nutrition education outreach and vaccine education outreach to the farmworkers."
The distributions for this program take place once a week at four different locations in Santa Maria.
The congressman finished with a roundtable discussion at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County's Santa Maria Warehouse. The "Hunger Holistically" discussion included input from Representative Jim McGovern, Chairman of the House Rules Committee. Conversation centered on equity needs in the current food system and current programs that are bridging the gap.
Find out more about the programs mentioned above by visiting foodbanksbc.org.