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Let’s help end local hunger

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Going hungry is more than just having a growling stomach.

It’s lightheadedness.

Dizziness.

Headaches.

Difficulty in focusing on anything.

No one wants to experience that.

Not having enough high-quality food is serious. Our lives depend on eating healthy, balanced meals that include good protein sources, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Like most other community-minded residents, Gopal K. Kapur doesn’t want his fellow Placer County residents to go without food.

Unlike most of us, however, Kapur actively tries to erase hunger in Placer County through his Roseville-based FamilyGreenSurvival, Inc. The nonprofit, all-volunteer-run organization provides nutritious meals to those facing hunger in Placer County via area food banks and other community programs.

Almost a third of Placer County residents face the dilemma of whether to pay each month for rent, medical needs or food, according to Kapur, and food is usually third on the list.

“These residents are not homeless people; they’re underemployed,” Kapur said. “They’re not making enough money. It’s a misconception that people seeking food assistance are homeless or nonworking people. In reality, they are employed but not making sufficient salaries.”

And anyone could unexpectedly find themselves in this situation.

Kapur points to the United Way ALICE Project that reports how many households are financially struggling in a specific county or state. The project calculates the survival budget required to live in a specific area.

ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. While ALICE households are not considered poverty-level, the households earn less than what it takes

to survive in today’s economy, according to United Way. These households comprise 43 percent of the country’s households.

The ALICE Threshold is the bare-minimum economic survival level based on the cost of living. Basic survival needs include housing, food, childcare, healthcare and transportation.

Many of these households have wage-earners working two or more jobs to try to make ends meet. But they need help in today’s economy.

Of Placer County’s 139,104 households, the United Way project reports that 7.9 percent live in poverty and 22.9 percent are at the ALICE Threshold percent.

That means 30.8 percent of households here must choose between paying for rent, healthcare or food.

Many of those falling in the ALICE Threshold and poverty levels are our next-door neighbors, our children’s classmates and our peers at work. Many of them could be us. We have jobs but the money we have from our paychecks can only stretch so far. Do we first pay our rent or mortgage or doctor’s bills or do we go to the grocery store to stock up on food sales?

Unfortunately for many Placer County residents, buying food is at the bottom of the list.

Enter Kapur and his volunteer-run, nonprofit organization, FamilyGreenSurvival, Inc.

On Nov. 10, FamilyGreenSurvival, Inc. will host an Imaginary Dinner Gala from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Randy Peters Event Center in Roseville. Every $1 raised provides two nutritious, easy-to prepare meals for those facing hunger in Placer County. (See front page for more on this event). The meals are distributed through the Placer Food Bank, The Salt Mine, The Gathering Inn, Excel Roseville (after-school children’s program), Home Start (transitional home living for families) and Roseville Police Assistance League (RPAL).

For more information about the Imaginary Dinner Gala or to become a sponsor, visit familygreensurvival.org or email gkapur@failygreensurvival.org.

 Residents should attend the Nov. 10 event. FamilyGreenSurvival, Inc. and the area food banks can’t end hunger alone. They need our support and help.