“Typically when people are suffering from food insecurity they are also suffering from other things as well, said Debbie Espinosa, CEO of the FIND Food Bank.
Espinosa has shared her personal experiences with food insecurities. Now – it’s a cancer journey – that’s inspiring her to help the community in a different way.
“For me, this month is important, even more important with regards to making sure we get the information out, because I was diagnosed with breast cancer this past summer,” Espinoza said.
FIND and Desert Care Network are partnering to spread awareness, providing information at distribution sites — making sure residents across the valley and surrounding communities get the food that they need but also information about breast cancer.
“Desert Care Network does a lot of clinics for low-income communities to make sure that they can get their mammograms very early on,” Espinoza said.
“We want to make sure that we build that awareness and let people know that you can come un regardless of their ability to pay and we will connect them with the resources needed to get the screening they need,” said Linda Evans, chief strategy officer for the Desert Care Network.
According to statistics in the Greater Coachella Valley and High Desert, there are areas of high-poverty neighborhoods, making this population particularly susceptible to cancer.
“Specifically a low-income population that are community of color. There is a higher risk of vulnerability for our clients because of the medical care they are not able to access,”
Many of these families might be unemployed or underemployed – or unaware of medical resources.
“So many in our valley feel that they don’t have access to healthcare or that services are too expensive,” Evans said.
A screening helped Espinosa’s doctors find her cancer early.
“So, between the surgeries that I’ve received as well as chemotherapy,” Espinoza said.
For her, the mission continues to help the community – and to heal.
“I’ve been moving through all the various things that we need to do in order to make sure that I’m been taken care of,” Espinoza said.