The Face of Hunger May Surprise You

When we hear or read about “the hungry” or “the homeless”, we think of
somebody visibly hungry; or the traditional homeless person, with a grocery
cart with all their worldly goods; or someone (usually a man) huddling in an
entrance way trying to keep out of the rain.

A recent report issued by Second Harvest Food Bank found what we at
Loaves and Fishes have known for some time now – the face of the
hungry and homeless is changing!

It is called the “Silicon Valley Paradox” - that “while Silicon Valley is one of the
richest areas in the world…26.8% of the population – almost 720,000 people
– qualify as food insecure based on risk factors such as missing meals,
relying on food banks or food stamps, borrowing money for food, or neglecting
bills and rent in order to buy groceries. Nearly a quarter are families with
children. They are the non-traditional homeless: people living in their car or a
garage, working people who have to choose between rent and food, people
without access to a kitchen.” Who are these “hidden homeless?” They are
individuals and families with children, seniors on fixed incomes, veterans and

They are people like Martina Rivera, a 52-year-old mental health nurse, whose
troubles began when her entire building was evicted last year. She thought
about moving in with family but worried about the burden. “My brother was
recovering from a stroke, and my mother is old,” she says. “I couldn’t put
more struggle on them. So what I found was my car.”

She told herself it was only temporary. “I work night shifts at a veterans hospital,
so I would go to my mom’s house to shower, and wait until it was time to work. I
waited and waited for the storm to pass.” Eventually, she found a room without
a private bathroom or kitchen. She shopped for food at 99 cent stores, ate
mainly canned food, and cooked in a microwave. It took a toll on her health,
she says.“I was having panic attacks. My body was like the walking dead. But I
thought I need to keep strong. And I never quit my job.”

Rivera says that for many working people, pride and self-esteem are
barriers to admitting need. “People don’t have money to buy food, but
they are shy to ask. But there is no reason to feel ashamed.”

Why is it that with an improving economy and a lowering unemployment
rate, we find ourselves feeding more people than ever have before?
Sadly, income inequality continues to grow, and the working poor simply
cannot earn enough to cover all their costs. It is heartbreaking to hear
our clients talk about the daily difficulty of having to choose between
purchasing food and meeting other basic needs such as rent, electricity,
and medicine. Finding food has become a central worry for most low
wage workers in our community, made worse by the high cost of

This year, Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen will prepare, serve and
deliver over 500,000 hot nutritious meals to our hungry neighbors. It's a
critical first step - because, in the end, nothing can really start until
hunger is completely stopped.

Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen Hires Gisela B. Bushey as Executive Director

For Immediate Release

Loaves and Fishes Media Contact: Madeline Martin,

San Jose, CA, March 5, 2018 – The Board of Directors of Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen is excited to announce the hiring of Gisela Bushey as Executive Director. After a thorough 6-month executive search, that started with over 100 candidates, Loaves and Fishes is confident that we hired the right person for the job.

“Gisela brings an incredibly strong and varied set of skills to this position, and exceeded our expectations of what we were looking for in our next Executive Director.  With extensive experience in both the non-profit and corporate philanthropy sectors, a demonstrated passion and commitment to serving the most vulnerable in our community, and the insights we were looking for to advance the hunger relief needs of our clients, the Board of Directors and I are certain that Gisela will successfully lead Loaves and Fishes forward for many years to come,” said Board Chair Dan Barsanti.

Gisela served for more than 20 years in non-profit management positions, including Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and The Housing Trust Fund.  Most recently, Gisela served as SanDisk Corporation’s Director of Foundation and Community Relations from 2010-2016, focusing global philanthropic and employee engagement activities around hunger relief, K-16 and STEM education and health and welfare for vulnerable populations; and was an Encore Fellow with the Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo’s Office of Strategic Partnerships from 2016-2017.  

“Gisela’s extensive organizational development and fund raising experience and hunger relief experience, which included working closely with Bay Area community agencies - including Loaves and Fishes - were what appealed to us the most,” says Barsanti.  “She is able to hit the ground running, and lead innovative and collaborative efforts to build upon the great work of serving over a half a million meals annually to hungry families, children, seniors, students, the homeless and veterans that Loaves and Fishes has been providing for 38 years.”

Gisela has garnered the respect and reputation as one of Silicon Valley’s most transformative community leaders.  She is a Silicon Valley Business Journal 2017 Women of Influence Award recipient, Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Responsibility Practitioner of the Year, and Women’s Innovation Network’s 2015 Leadership Award winner.

Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen has a long-standing reputation as a community leader in food insecurity/hunger relief and community engagement.  They have expanded their program model to become the only program that prepares, serves and delivers hot, nutritious meals to vulnerable populations from Gilroy to South San Francisco, CA. Working through two meal service sites in San Jose, and providing meals to over 30 partner non-profit organizations serving individuals, families, children, seniors, homeless and veteran populations, Loaves and Fishes will provide over 500,000 meals this year.

“I am delighted to join the Loaves and Fishes family,” says Gisela. “Building meaningful food security and safety net services for our neighbors in need resonates very deeply with me, and I am ready to take on the challenge of leading Loaves and Fishes into their fourth decade of service and beyond.”  

About Loaves and Fishes:  Since 1980, Loaves and Fishes has fought hunger in the California Bay Area by providing food security to those who need it most.  Nothing can start until hunger is stopped.  Loaves and Fishes provides over 1,500 hot nutritious meals a day to low-income, disadvantaged families, children, seniors, the homeless, veterans and students at their two meal service sites and to more than 30 non-profit partner organizations providing services throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  All services are provided free of charge, and to anyone in need.

Loaves and Fishes has received Second Harvest Food Bank’s Innovative Partner Award, Silicon Valley business Journal’s Community Impact Award, and Commendations from the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, the City of San Jose and the California State Senate.


Double your gift today and help feed families like Maria and Leandro.

For the next 48 hours only, your gift will be doubled! Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor, you can double your impact dollar for dollar up to $15,000!

If you’ve already given – thank you! Your gift is already being put to work feeding children, families, seniors, and the homeless across the Bay Area who need your support – families like Maria and Leandro:


Maria is a single mom to two sons including 3-year-old Leandro. Maria has an AA in Business Administration from San Jose City College. She worked as a Recreation Leader for San Jose’s Park Recreation Neighborhood Services while attending San Jose State University.

Maria had to drop out of university after suffering domestic abuse from her son’s father. Maria has been living in a battered women’s shared housing for domestic violence victims, since 2014. Maria is currently unemployed because she needs to take full-time care of her son Leandro. It’s very stressful to cook in the kitchen where Maria lives. There are multiple women and children trying to cook at the same time. Instead, Maria comes to Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen

Not only does the food here help me to save on food, so I can help pay other bills and provide for my sons, I also like the stress-free and friendly environment here. I am grateful for the support of donors like you. Because of you, we get to live a healthier and more independent life. In addition, my sons and I no longer feel isolated, but connected to the community.”

Please make your year-end tax-deductible gift right now and double your impact with a dollar for dollar matching grant to help feed families like Maria and Leandro.

We are truly grateful for the support of you, our donors, volunteers, and supporters who are committed to fighting hunger in our community.

Please act now and send your tax-deductible gift today and help us reach our matching gift goal of $15,000.


Washington Post Report - Extreme poverty returns to America

Forty million Americans live in poverty, nearly half in deep poverty — which U.N. investigators defined as people reporting income less than one-half of the poverty threshold. The United States has the highest child poverty rates — 25 percent — in the developed world. Then there are the extremely poor who live on less than $2 per day per person and don’t have access to basic human services such as sanitation, shelter, education and health care.

You can help feed people like Hai-Lam

Your support improves the well-being of people like Hai-Lam. Your support improves the lives of low-income seniors, children and families, and the homeless, across the Bay Area by serving them free nutritious meals.

Because of you, we served 464,755 prepared meals to more than 329,212 individuals including 100,441 meals to seniors in Fiscal Year 2016–2017.

Because of you, in Fiscal year 2017-2018, we are on track to provide over half a million nutritious meals to our hungriest neighbors.

Not only during the holiday season, but every day, we fight hunger with your support. You see, even with the times as tough as they are, we at Loaves & Fishes, can make your donations go incredibly far.

Your gift helps us secure and distribute food through our network of 30 nonprofit partners including low-income senior residents, community centers, churches, and after-school programs.  

Will you please help today?

There is still much work we need to do, not only during the holiday season but every day.

Together we will make sure that this holiday will be happier for all in our community.

Thank you for working with us to feed our neighbors!

This holiday season no one should go hungry. Help us provide a warm nutritious meal by sending your gift today