Households Facing Food Insecurity Continues to Rise in Orange County and Chatham Village Apartments
ORANGE, CA - Food security has been a considerable need for Orange County households as the ever-increasing cost of rent and living continues to climb over the years. Working men and women can be one paycheck away from hunger, despite working long hours to make ends meet. The senior population are also having a hard time trying to stretch their fixed income to address their needs. According to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, one in eight children in Orange County is at risk of hunger, with 29.4% of low-income seniors being food insecure [source]. Martha Venegas, PSCDC Director of Services for Orange County, has made it her mission to ensure that the residents of Chatham Village Apartments can get the extra help that they need in securing food.
Working closely with local food banks and donators in Orange County for many years, Martha has developed an extensive partner network that sources boxes full of dairy, meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables to be distributed to residents fairly in a weekly community food distribution. The main provider of food includes the Orange County Food Bank, followed by the nearby Albertsons, Sprouts, and Trader Joe's. The City of Tustin's Parks & Recreations picks up the food boxes from the food providers and delivers them to Chatham Village Apartments, where they are handed out to residents.
In the last few months, basic food items have increased more than 50 percent and have to be limited due to two reasons. The first reason is because the food demand is still high due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation [source]. The second reason is grocery stores not having enough items in stocks, such as eggs. The increase in basic food items is hurting both households and food banks. In an effort to cut costs and maintain sustainable operations, Orange County food banks have had to cut back on the amount of supplies they can send to the Chatham Village Apartments community. For the months of January and February, Martha will only be able to conduct food distributions on Tuesdays. The highly-popular Park in Market program that was established at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and focused on providing even more food supplies will be suspended by Martha until further notice. Regardless, Martha is still looking to expand her community network and get residents the help they need by connecting with other local agencies and looking at different options.
"Food distribution is an essential part for low-income families, especially families with children, the elderly, and people without documents," elaborates Martha. "If residents do not get any help, the number of groceries they could buy each month would be severely lacking."
Chatham Village Apartments residents in need of extra food security can attend weekly food distributions on-site every Tuesday at 1 pm, and contacting Martha for more available resources. Orange County residents in search of food pantries can find the nearest food pantry through the Orange County Food Help website.