National campaign against hunger holds event at Chuckchansi Park

FRESNO, Calif.

In a study released this year by Food Research Action Center, Fresno was ranked the 5th most food insecure city in the nation. Organizers were mostly focused on making people aware of the problem, even though the Central Valley is known for food production.

The Food Research Action Center's study found many Fresno families are starving and unsure where their next meal will come from.

"Almost 25 percent of our population has a hard time getting food on the table at a regular rate," Tom Matott with Fresno Metro Ministry said.

Saturday night's event brought awareness to the issue by showing a documentary on the baseball stadium's big screen. A few dozen sat in the stands and in the grass to watch "A Place at The Table" which documents three American's struggles to bring food to their table.

Many say the problem stands out in for a few reasons. Many can't afford to eat regularly, or can only afford to eat unhealthy foods.

"A lot of it is poverty, we have a lot of food desserts and food swaps in Fresno so neighborhoods that don't have access to their grocery stores. Maybe they've just a got lot of fast food or gas stations to buy their groceries," Matott said.

Food banks and health department officials went to the event to share ideas and tackle the problem of hunger in the Central Valley. Some believe that farmer's markets could have an expanded role for families.

"I think it's great that we can now accept snap payments, that's your food stamp benefits that can be redeemed at farmer's markets," Felix Muzquiz with The Vineyard Farmer's Market said.

Another idea is to bring awareness of the 18 community gardens in Fresno, so people can take advantage of them.

"Most of them are in central and south Fresno where food is a scarce commodity," Fresno resident Nastasia Sotiropulos said.

The solution will be complicated, but all agree that bringing awareness to the issue of hunger is the first step of many. Fresno was not the only California city on the list of most food insecure cities. Riverside-San Bernardino was ranked 6th on the list and Bakersfield was the 1st on the list.

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