Making It in the Bay

Facebook Helps Fight Food Insecurity in the Bay Area

School district officials call the food distribution program "crucial"

NBC Universal, Inc.

The coronavirus pandemic made an already pressing issue in the Bay Area even worse over the last year.

Food insecurity has been steadily growing across the region and now that California is reopening and children are going back to school, some local school districts are scrambling to make sure all families have enough to eat.

A local tech giant is taking the task upon its hands to help combat food insecurity as we re-enter a new kind of normalcy.

Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg talks to NBC Bay Area about what Facebook is doing to combat food insecurity across the Bay Area.

According to statistics, children and families at Belhaven Elementary School in the Ravenswood School District face food insecurity.

"One in four kids in the U.S., and one in three kids in Silicon Valley goes hungry."

The district is getting help from local hands including Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Sandberg and Facebook staffers, including the company's chefs, are preparing and distributing 600 meals a week in the school district. They are working with the non-profit organization Loaves and Fishes - which goal is to combat food insecurity - to make sure families get the food they need.

Facebook is taking a notable role in the fight against food insecurity and one of the best-known executives is leading the charge. Scott Budman breaks it down.

June Richardson, who oversees child nutrition for the Ravenswood School District, calls the food distribution program "crucial," especially heading into the summer months.

"Everyone can eat free meals at the school district," she said. "Not only that - our seamless summer program allows anybody in the community 18 and under to receive meals for free."

Sandberg, who spent time distributing meals herself, said while she appreciates the Facebook team coming to help, she sees the families themselves looking out for each other.

"As the community members were coming in, we greeted them and thanked them for coming, and many of them said 'You know, I'm here but my neighbor wasn't able to come. Can I take an extra box?, can I take an extra packet of meals for my neighbors?'."

Moving forward, the school district said it expects many more students to attend summer school than usual in a couple weeks. Thanks to donors like Facebook, they said meal plans will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

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