Get active to end hunger in the Conejo

Guest opinion



September marks nationwide Hunger Action Month, a time when food pantries and food banks, like Manna, mobilize across the country to help end hunger in their communities.

It is a time to inspire people to take action and raise awareness of the fact that hunger does exist in their community—including the more than 15,000 households right here in the Conejo Valley that are considered “food insecure.”

Manna’s emphasis has always been the strong connection between hunger and health, especially in children, seniors and disabled people.

Adequate food and proper nutrition are the foundation on which life is built. Children who don’t have access to a healthy diet with enough nutritious food to eat don’t have the energy to learn, grow and ultimately succeed. Seniors who are unable to get three square meals a day have difficulty addressing their medical needs and fighting colds and flu. Our community can come together and take action so that no child or senior will run on empty.

I’ve spent the past five years looking into the faces of hunger. I’ve seen firsthand the heartache and the pain it can cause. It’s always distressing to meet a parent who is afraid that they will not be able to feed their children.

Hunger Action Month asks people to consider how it would feel to live with an empty stomach, putting a healthy life and the promise of a productive future at risk. It’s a time when we are all given a chance to come together and make a difference for those facing hunger.

Hunger Action Day in September, is a day where hunger awareness efforts are focused for greater impact.

Today (Sept. 7), we at Manna are asking our supporters to share what they would not be able to do without adequate nutrition by writing on an empty plate, “On an empty stomach I can’t ______,” and filling in the blank with something they couldn’t achieve, then take a picture and post it on social media, tag Manna’s Facebook page and share with friends and family.

Through a combined effort by our friends, neighbors and the community, we can raise awareness about hunger in the Conejo Valley and inspire others to get involved. Manna has taken a strong stance in the fight to end hunger in the Conejo Valley, but we can’t do it without the community’s support.

Manna is a 45-year-old independent food bank serving thousands of food-insecure families, seniors and disabled people from throughout the Conejo Valley. We do this through the generosity of the community. More than 1,700 community-hosted food drives are held each year, collecting over 280,000 pounds of food, which stocks our pantry with a wide selection of good-quality, nutritious foods.

To learn more about Manna or to help fight hunger in the Conejo Valley, please visit To learn more about fun and engaging ways to mark Hunger Action Month, visit Manna’s blog at

Jennifer Schwabauer is Manna’s executive director. Contact her at (805) 497-4959 or email