By Shawn Kramer
This time of year as the weather turns cold, many of us think of the simple pleasure of a cozy evening at home. However, for many in our community, the change in seasons adds further stress to the budget as families are confronted with difficult choices like whether to pay for food or utilities.
Have you ever had to worry whether to heat or eat? This challenging choice is a reality for more than 34,000 people in Yolo County who are food-insecure. The ability to provide a warm, comforting holiday meal for one’s family and friends may not be an option for a senior living on a fixed income, a single parent, or the recently unemployed.
Though help is extended to many during this season of generosity, the question “Heat or eat?” is still prevalent to some in Yolo County.
The Food Bank of Yolo County
Fortunately, resources like the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which assists low-income families in a crisis situation and provides tools to help make their homes energy efficient, exist. PG&E’s California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) are also available to our neighbors in need, providing monthly discounts on energy bills for income-qualified households.
When families still aren’t able to make ends meet, the Food Bank of Yolo County (FBYC) and our network of 60 partner agencies are able to help with food and supportive services. FBYC has several direct distribution programs, such Friday’s Table, Kid’s Farmers Market, and the Rural Food Delivery, which provide supplemental food assistance in an effort to help families stretch their resources.
Agencies, including Fourth & Hope, Davis Community Meals, the Yolo Family Resource Center, and the Yolo County Children’s Alliance help those in need by offering free tax preparation, connections to healthcare services, job placement, and food assistance.
With continued community support, we are working together to make sure that our neighbors in need are able to stay warm and celebrate this holiday season with food and family.
— Shawn Kramer is the community relations manager for the Food Bank of Yolo County