Winston Gieseke Palm Springs Desert Sun
September is Hunger Action Month, during which Indio-based FIND (Food in Need of Distribution) Food Bank will join forces with Feeding America and 200 network food banks to inspire people to take action and raise awareness of locals facing food insecurity.
Hunger remains at critical levels throughout California, the results of prolonged unemployment, record heat waves and, for many, the end of unemployment benefits. FIND is engaging with the public through fundraising and awareness events to leave no local hungry during the ongoing recovery efforts.
“Hunger Action Month does a couple of things,” said Debbie Espinosa, FIND Food Bank’s CEO. “One, it calls the attention to our larger communities about food insecurity and the effects it has on people. It also celebrates many of the people who work in the food insecurity sector for the work and service they provide. All of our agencies, our partner agencies and the local businesses that contribute and support to ensure that people know where their next meal is coming from — Hunger Action Month celebrates them and their work while making sure people are aware of the food insecurity issues that we struggle through on a daily basis as communities and as individuals.”
Feeding America’s national campaign, meanwhile, highlights the impossible choices that millions of Americans are forced to make between food and other basic needs, like housing, medical care, electricity and childcare.
“A lot of the people in our food lines or receiving food from our partner distribution agencies are people who are working but still really struggling to make ends meet because the job market and the economy have not improved to where we were pre-pandemic levels,” said Espinosa.
During the month of September, businesses, city governments and individuals across the Coachella Valley and Hi-Desert can get involved in the movement by donating, volunteering, learning, and speaking up about ways to end hunger.
Local restaurants, hotels, retail stores and entertainment venues across the Coachella Valley and the High Desert showing support for FIND Food Bank’s hunger relief efforts include Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs; Desert Wine Shop, Palm Desert; Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge, Palm Springs; Grill-A-Burger, Palm Desert; Grounded Bodyworks, Palm Springs; Kaiser Grille, Palm Desert; Kimpton Rowan Hotel, Palm Springs; Hotel Paseo, Palm Desert; Life & Times; Pioneertown Motel; Red Dog Saloon, Pioneertown; PS Underground, Palm Springs, and RD RNNR, La Quinta.
“We have contributed to FIND Food Bank as often as we can over the past several years,” said Willie Rhine, co-owner of Eight4Nine. “When Kayleen (Sullivan, FIND’s community relations coordinator) reached out to me regarding Hunger Action Month, I saw a great opportunity to participate. Sept. 1 was our sixth anniversary, so donating proceeds from the Eight4Nine cocktail was the perfect cocktail to select.”
FIND Food Bank CEO Debbie Espinosa poses in front of bags of food in Indio, Calif, that will be distributed to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak on Monday, March 23, 2020. Vickie Conor/The Desert Sun