Food Rescue Services, Barriers, and Recommendations in Santa Clara County
California's Silicon Valley is one of the wealthiest places in the United States where job growth, income, and venture capital flourish at or near record highs. Despite these positive trends, many people in the region are struggling just to get enough food. In Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties 1 in 4 people and 1 in 3 children are at risk of hunger and food stamp participation in the region hit a 10-year high in 2012. Meanwhile, 40% of all food produced in the US is wasted. The reality of hunger and wasted food is costly to the environment, the economy, and the health of our communities. The costs of uneaten food and empty bellies are often hidden but are significant. Each year hunger costs our nation $130.5 billion in health care for hunger-linked medical issues, $19.2 billion in reduced educational and workplace productivity, and $17.8 billion of charitable contributions to address hunger, totaling to $167.5 billion per year. In California, the cost of hunger was $19.6 billion in 2010. Meanwhile, the US spends $165 billion each year on food that just gets thrown away and then pays $750 million each year for its disposal. Wasted food is a disaster for the environment too as it wastes valuable resources like water and energy and is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter globally behind China and the US.