tv Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa NBC November 12, 2017 5:30am-6:01am PST
♪ robe"asian pacific america." welcome to a special edition of i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. today, we focus on the annual effort to end hunger. nbc bay area and telemundo 48 are once again teaming up with safeway and local food banks to help feed the need. we will look at the efforts of food banks in alameda county, the south bay, and san francisco-marin. we'll also learn how we can all help the north bay fire victims, especially during and after the holidays. well, we can all try to help out those in need in as many ways as possible, but to try to tackle a massive problem and end hunger, i found the effort needs to work through local food banks. now, each bay area county has its own unique challenges,
as well as enormous demand. with me to talk about the situation for the alameda county community food bank is first, michael altfest, its associate director of communications and marketing, and norma batongbacal, the communications and marketing manager. welcome to the show. michael altfest: thank you for having us. robert: yeah, thank you for being here. give us a quick idea in terms of how the system works in alameda county. michael: sure, so, alameda county community food bank serves an immense need. we're helping 1 in 5 county residents. we're the hub of hunger relief in alameda county, so we'll distribute the equivalent of about 31 million meals worth of food this year. and that goes through 200 community organizations, like food pantries and soup kitchens, as well as our own direct distribution programs. robert: yeah, that's one thing to always make note of, is that people do focus on the problem during the holidays, but it's a year-round kind of situation, right? michael: yes, so, we're serving, you know, 1 in 5 county residents, and that is a year-round issue. we do see an uptick in demand occasionally during the holidays, but it really is important to note that we have
busy times year round, particularly other times of year, like, at summer and springtime as well. robert: yeah, norma, give us an idea here in terms of sort of the characteristics of alameda county in terms of the people you serve, as well as, like, the asian american and pacific islander communities, as well as how they react being reached out to. norma batongbacal: yeah, as you know, the bay area is one of the most diverse in the entire country. we serve a very diverse population of people, a lot of asian americans here in alameda county, and each one of those different cultures has their own unique sets of needs and challenges and wants, and we really try to meet the community where the need is. and so, we're out there in the community, talking to various people, trying to understand what people need out there what we can do to better serve them. so, we have a variety of staff members who can speak in multiple languages to meet them because it makes them feel more comfortable, helps them express their need better to us,
and then we can learn how to better serve them and give them the food that they need. robert: yeah, those unique needs are actually something to keep a focus on. but what are some of the kind of unique kind of foods that you're looking for for these groups, and how difficult is it to kinda collect 'em? michael: it can be difficult. so, when we're serving, you know, 1 in 5 county residents, and we've got 31 million meals going out every year, we're doing a lot of bulk purchasing. so, you know, that's a lot of stable items, rice, and canned vegetables, and a lot of farm-fresh produce. in fact, farm-fresh produce is half of what we distribute. that's where programs like food drives really come into play. food drives are helpful because it gives us a variety of foods to work from. really, one of the most important things that we can do is work with all these different partner agencies who know their clients. they know the food that their clients want and need, so we can work with them to make those decisions and ensure
that we're bringing in the right food for them. robert: yeah, we were talking a little bit earlier about i was noticing how there used to be sort of maybe some cultural reluctance in some of the communities to acknowledge that they need the help and everything like that. and i've noticed that that has changed quite a bit. in alameda county, do you have a very good rapport with the communities now? norma: yeah, you know, we have this language line, you know, where people can call to get the food that they need. we are able to help people in the languages that they're most comfortable speaking. we have three full-time staff members who speak cantonese, mandarin, vietnamese, and then we also have other languages that we can provide services in, and so that makes them feel that they can trust us, that they can get the support that they need, make them feel comfortable about being able to express, again, their need. last year alone, we referred 1300 asian-language-speaking households to food services, so. robert: yeah, that coordination with the programs,
that's always expanding, isn't it? and is that-- that's quite a help. that's actually the crucial link, isn't it? michael: yes, our relationships with our agencies, they really are, you know, they're the boots on the ground. they're the ones that know our clients really well. so, the relationship between us and them, that's where they, you know, we're providing them the food resources, but they're the ones that know the client. so, all of those different little food pantries, they're so just critical and vital to our work. but we do have a full team in our food bank that works with them on a day-to-day basis to make sure that they're able to expand their capabilities, that we're able to meet the needs of their clients. so it's this very close collaborative working relationship. and yes, we're always trying to expand that program and make sure that the resources are expanding 'cause the need's going up. robert: how do, then, people get involved? you know, a lot of things i always find is that when people hear, "food bank," they kinda think you have sort of a self-enclosed kinda system and everything's fine. how do you get people that you need to help you? how do you get the food that you need? michael: yeah, it's funny that you say that. you know, we just actually just updated our new logo.
and right here, the "community" is bold in our middle name, and it's, you know, it's not a self-contained thing. we are very much a community organization. so we only are able to run with financial contributions, you know, we purchase most of the food that we provide, with volunteer support, with people who are so passionate about our work that they will actually pick up their phone and call their legislator, or send an email to talk about how important programs like food stamps are to them and to our community. so, the holidays are a great time for us because people are just so inspired and they wanna help, and it's an opportunity for us to reach back out and show them the multitude of ways that they can get involved. robert: and are you getting the community volunteers that you need, especially for those unique communities that need the language help, et cetera? norma: absolutely, we do have the volunteers, but we can always use more. you know, and the need, as mike mentioned, is increasing. and so, to meet that need, we need more volunteers as well. so, while we are getting that support,
we definitely could use more hands. robert: yeah, i think that's pretty much the slogan every year for this. all right, hey, thank you very much. we're really glad to be a part of this help and this system. michael: great, we appreciate it very much. robert: well, stay with us, as we talk about how to help the north bay fire victims with their food needs. ♪
robert: well, along with many of my nbc bay area colleagues, i reported on the north bay fires, which was a devastating event. and it's hard to tell how the victims will ever recover, but we can all help them with some basic needs right now. a fire is only one of many events that can put any family in need, regardless of income or other circumstances. "asian pacific america" went to redwood empire food bank in santa rosa, where they had a drive-thru food distribution operation for the fire victims. here's some comments and insights from the ceo on how to best help them.
david goodman: i think that one of the things that happens in experiences like this is that empathy rises. so, we've all known all along that it's just one thing that happens in people's lives that cause them to be in need. it could be a job loss. it could be an injury. in this case, it's fire. so we understand that just one event in people's lives puts them in need. it's not necessarily an issue of income. it's just life circumstances, and there they are. always, for all food banks around the bay area, what we need are protein items. the quick and dirty answer for that is, "what's for dinner tonight?" the answer to, "what's for dinner tonight?" is what we need in a non-perishable form: canned chicken, canned tuna, beef stew. those are the items that people want. i am certain that there are people around the greater bay area that wanna help people here in sonoma county. and what i would like to ask is for you to support your local food bank. your local food bank has been helping us, and they will be there for you, and we will be there for you.
so, the place to support us is through your local food bank. robert: well, as you heard from david, you can support north bay relief efforts in a number of ways. help your local food bank by participating in the nbc bay area holiday food drive, taking place across 160 safeway stores on saturday, november 18. i'll be at the morgan hill store on tennant avenue, and you can see a list of locations on our website. next, the second harvest food bank of santa clara and san mateo counties. and yes, that's a lot of ground to cover. we'll see how they do it. that's coming up.
santa clara and san mateo counties is a formidable task. joining us again this year is patrick manigque, a food collection field specialist for the second harvest food bank of santa clara and san mateo counties. welcome back to the show. patrick manigque: thank you for having me again. robert: now, give us an idea here how the food bank works when you're trying to cover santa clara and san mateo counties. patrick: so, second harvest food bank basically has two teams covering both counties.
santa clara county has around 15 food collection specialists to cover santa clara county. san mateo county has around three specialists for the area. so, what we do is go around and do outreach. we help people out, sign up for our food programs. we help them with calfresh applications as well. robert: yeah, do you find that to be an advantage, having, like, one joint operation versus separating into two separate ones? patrick: so, like you said, santa clara and san mateo is such a big ground to cover, so having the both counties with each, a team for each county really helps cover the grounds. robert: yeah, do they have enough unique as well as common characteristics to be able to deal with it? or are they almost like two special operations? patrick: so, the thing about both counties, so, with silicon valley, there's such a great big--
great, great deal of paradox. so, with the tech boom, the housing costs are rising. but the problem is, the wages of people outside the tech industry has remained flat all throughout these years. so, we're finding more and more people are relying on second harvest food bank because of this. this year, we aim to serve around 257,000 a month. it is a rise from previous years of around 250,000 people every month. robert: yeah, and as we talked with alameda county officials too, or the workers, they always sort of--i always wanna kinda get across to people that it's a year-round kinda operation, even though we do kinda focus it around the holidays. what are some of the kinda the goals for this particular season? have you got much growing demand? patrick: yeah, so, talking about the year-round endeavor
of second harvest food bank, this holiday, we have launched the holiday food and fun drive, which started in october, and it'll run until january. this fun drive is the largest in the nation right now. so, we are aiming at raising around $16.5 million and around 1 million pounds of food to make sure that people who need a healthy meal will get one. this campaign is also so critical for second harvest food bank that because we raise about half of our yearly operational budget during this season. so, it's so important that we get a good kickoff for this holiday season. robert: yeah, year-round problem, but there is a peak season when you're trying to get a lot of it done, huh? patrick: yes. robert: you know, we always wanna make sure that people feel like they can help, not only in terms of donations and what they contribute, but also their own time and things like that. you have a unique story.
i remember we talked about it before, in terms of how you ended up being involved. tell a little bit about what your situation or what your involvement was with the food bank before, and how you came to play this role now. patrick: so, yes, i was a recipient of the food programs with second harvest food bank. so, 10 years ago, being an asian immigrant here in a new country, a big country, we found it hard to adjust economically and culturally. so, we were basically, like, feeling left out because of our situation. my wife was the one working, and we find it hard to stretch our resources. but luckily, a second harvest food bank field specialist found me and was able to actually tell me about the programs, help me with the calfresh food stamps. and that really helped a lot during our struggles here in the first few years here in america. robert: i know, i think it's really important for people to kinda hear that because some people might be reluctant
to try to get involved or try to reach out. and it's nice to hear that, you know, i mean, people are working, and they're just trying to make ends meet, and just that little augmentation can really help, especially around the holidays, huh? patrick: yes. robert: yeah, how 'bout for you? what's the kinda, the rewarding thing now, having seen it from one side and now doing it as a field specialist? what are kinda the rewards that you feel when you're doing it? patrick: so, as a field specialist, i cannot describe enough how it feels when i see someone that i've helped and you hear that very sincere, "thank you," from these people when, in fact, i was on the other side, thinking about the same thing, thanking second harvest food bank, beings so grateful with the help that they've given me and my family. robert: so, how can people help? what do you wanna make sure that people, kind of in a simple way, how can people get involved? how can they help you? patrick: so, we're really open to donations. so, monetary and food donations are all welcome, although monetary donations are the best right now.
so, with your money that you donate, we can stretch that with our buying power. for every dollar that you donate, we can actually two meals to feed the hungry. so, i would encourage anyone who wants to donate, individuals, or corporations, or organizations, to go to our site, www.shfb.org, or call our donor hotline at 1-866-234-3663 to find out how they can help and donate. robert: all right, we'll have that information on our website as well. yeah, people need to understand you're part of a big network, and so you really do need to have people involved, and donations do help. good to see you again. patrick: thank you. robert: glad to hear you were working at the holidays like this, it's great. patrick: yeah, i'm glad to do it. robert: all right, well, when we come back, how the san francisco-marin food bank is working to end hunger, that's next.
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serving the community, distributing more food and unveiling more programs than ever. here with me is cody jang, the community engagement manager for the food bank. good to see ya. cody jang: thanks for havin' me. robert: now, it's growing, but so is the demand, right? cody: that's right. robert: yeah, so, how much has the program grown, and how many programs are involved now? cody: so, over the past few years, we've added an average of about a million pounds of food distributed each year. so, last year, it was 48 million pounds of food. the year before that, it was 47, and we're continuing to add because, as you said, the need continues to grow. robert: right, and of course, a big part of that is the campaigns, all the food campaigns that we're conducting. we're participating in one. we wanna show people what they're gonna get when they purchase or donate these bags. one of the things i noticed is that there's just so many more items now. and last year, i think we had, like, 17,000 bags donated on the first day, and 300,000 over the entire campaign. but the bag this year, i think, contains so many more items this year, huh?
cody: yeah, it's fantastic. i think there's 11, 12 items. there's applesauce, there's tuna, there's pasta, there's green beans, and there's things that not really are just gonna serve one meal, but they're really gonna sustain someone over the long term and allow them to eat for quite a while, and so it's a really great campaign. robert: that's a nice change, or a big improvement. how 'bout the green apple heart core campaign, the holiday food drive that you guys have? tell us a little bit about that. cody: yeah, so heart core is really an awareness raising campaign, and so it just--when people participate in the heart core campaign, which is take a picture of themselves with a green apple somewhere that they feel so moved to, it just signals that they support the work that they do, and that they want to fight hunger, wherever it is they are. you know, whether it's mayor ed lee, or other local celebrities, or even just people in the community, we really want as many people to participate as possible. get that good picture of them, and show that they support the work that we're doing. robert: and it's interesting because, of course, we want donations. we want people to help in that way.
but when you say, "raise awareness," it really is something that people sometimes think they understand, in terms of the situation, the need, and all that, and really is sort of necessary for people to have awareness of what the situation, what the problem is, huh? cody: yeah, so, hunger is a much bigger problem than most people realize. and you mentioned it's our 30th year, so we are, we've been fighting hunger for a long time in san francisco and marin. and then, i wanna share with everybody is that 1 in 4 people in the bay area are at risk of hunger, which means that 25% of people might now know where their next meal is gonna come from. and that is, it is, of course, some of the homeless people, but it's really youth, and seniors, and people with disabilities, and just regular people that are tryin' to make ends meet. and so, that's who we're really tryin' to help. robert: and you have a very diverse community. cody: absolutely, yeah, san francisco and marin are really diverse, and so we definitely serve a lot of people in the asian population, and just people throughout the latino population. and we're tryin' to get food out to the communities. so, the way we do that is we work with community partners all over the two counties. we get the food to them, and then they distribute it out.
and so our programs team is working with these partners in each of the locations, just figuring out what is culturally relevant? what's needed in that community? is there more needed? is there less? do we want more bok choy? do we want less cheese? what is it that we actually need? and we'll make sure we deliver that as best as we can. robert: all right, how can people help if they wanna kind of help you address those specific or unique needs? cody: yeah, so, whenever we run a food and fun drive, we have collateral that we distribute out to people, and the biggest needed items typically tend to be protein items. so, we're asking for tuna. we're asking for peanut butter and items like that. and the more that people can donate those items, the better we can do. we do a pretty good job of distributing lots of fresh produce out to people. and so, of the 40 million pounds of food that we distributed last year, 60% was fresh produce, and i think that's pretty special. robert: yeah, and also brings about special problems, in terms of making sure it gets to people in the right time, et cetera, right? cody: absolutely, yeah, we've gotta move it quickly. and so, the way we do that is we bring in a whole bunch of volunteers. so, 40,000 volunteers came in last year. they visit our warehouse. they help us pack and sort.
all of that, that great fresh produce, those carrots, those apples, those oranges, they help us get it all ready to go. and then our staff pushes it out, and then people are able to get really great food that they wouldn't be able to have otherwise. robert: it's interesting too, because, you know, turkeys, the symbol of turkeys and stuff used to be so important. and people almost used to gauge, like, how successful campaigns were by that type of donations. and it does sometimes--i hear people say that they feel a little guilty, like, writing a check, or, you know, maybe like they feel like they should be something a little more personal. but actually, monetary donations really do give you that flexibility to address the problem the best, right? cody: oh, absolutely, yeah. all donations are definitely gonna be appreciated, but monetary donations really do give us, like you said, that flexibility to purchase specific foods, to purchase more food. when we do buy, we have great buying power, so for every single dollar we get donated, we can turn it into $5 worth of food, and we can get out and get the turkeys, like you said, for the holidays. if we need to get staple items like rice or chicken or eggs,
to just make sure we have protein for people on a regular basis, we can do that as well. and it just gives us a chance to get the specific things that we need when we need them. robert: that's right, and we are gonna have a lot of the information on our website. what's the website for your--? cody: sfmfoodbank.org. robert: okay, great, but we'll also have that information as well. pretty optimistic about how it's all goin'? cody: we're feelin' great about the holiday season. so, i work with volunteers, like you mentioned, and our phone is ringing off the hook. people can't wait to come in and help. we're overwhelmed, we really, really appreciate how much people wanna help out. it's pretty amazing. and so, what we do is we try to get them into the warehouse to help us out. we get 'em out to this feed the need drive and help on saturday, november 18, and we had some pantries over the summer. we were tryin' to make sure we were able to distribute food out to the community and people that wouldn't normally get it. so, there's always ways for people to come in and lend a hand. robert: congratulations, we'll help you out, okay? cody: sounds good, thank you. robert: all right, the nbc bay area holiday food drive, taking place november 18 at safeway stores across the bay area. go to a store near you and support your local food bank.
see a list of where nbc bay area will be visiting, and safeways, and you can see that at our websites. again, i'll be at the morgan hill store on tennant avenue, so be sure and follow us on facebook and twitter for updates. and that's it for our special show today. please join us again next week and every week here on "asian pacific america," and we'll see you at the food drive. ♪
so much tragedy and so much love. >> do not under estimate. >> we're never going to file sexual harassment discussing it with the media. >> are you ready for it? good morning and welcome to "sunday today" on november 12th. president trump is in the philippines this morning as he winds down a nearly two week trip to asia. a busy day already for the president as he now says he believes russia medaled in last year's presidential election. this just hours after he called the former head of cia, fbi, national intelligence, quote, ha.