Every ten years, the U.S. Constitution mandates that we as a country come together – as one US Census Bureau representative called it – “for a big family portrait.”

The purpose of this snapshot is to have an accurate count of every member of our diverse community. All ages, races, places, families, and more.

The 2020 Census count will determine how our federal government decides to make numerous policy decisions including how to distribute funding for critical anti-hunger programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as CalFresh in our state) and the National School Lunch Program.

According to the Alameda County Complete Count Committee, California receives $76 billion in federal funding, based upon our state’s population count. And each person not counted by the Census would result in a loss of nearly $2,000 per year. If our county is undercounted by just 3%, we face a $1 BILLION loss in resources over the next decade, funds that could be used to preserve and strengthen shared community assets like schools, libraries, and a safety net from poverty.

Imagine the kind of difference that could make for those who experience hunger?

Because the US Supreme Court has now sent the Census case back to the federal agency, it remains unclear whether the Trump Administration will succeed in its effort to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. Here’s what we do know: Alameda County Community Food Bank believes that our Community and economy must be inclusive of everyone. The data and funding that the Census enables is critical to our ability to end hunger and poverty for the one in five residents that we serve.

The Food Bank stands with the County of Alameda and its partners in support of a Census that honors the diversity of our nation and leads to full, fair, and accurate count. Census participation is a crucial step for advancing the policy fight against hunger – a pillar of the Food Bank’s strategic plan for ensuring that food is a basic human right.

In preparation for April 1, 2020, also known as Census Day, the Food Bank has joined efforts from across the county and state to support marginalized residents with the information and resources they need to get counted. This includes inviting our community to stand together for this critical moment, including our 200+ partner agency network, 20,000 volunteers, and 30,000 donors.

ACCFB’s strength lies in the power of partnership. We are engaged at every level of government to ensure the struggles and rights of people living in poverty are recognized and addressed thoughtfully through policies and programs. Our shared voice has the power to bring forth a Census which captures our full community by honoring the breadth and depth of our diversity.

 

by Alex Boskovich, Government Relations Officer