“Local Hunger Fighters” is a series that spotlights our awesome supporters and staff who help raise awareness of hunger in our community and motivate people to get involved.

Local Hunger Fighters: Dr. Lisa Chamberlain, The American Academy of Pediatrics, District 1

How are you helping Second Harvest and our community?
I’ve been drawn to the issue of addressing hunger in our community because of my work as a pediatrician in East Palo Alto at the Ravenswood Family Health Center. Throughout the Great Recession, more and more of my families were struggling to make ends meet and were reporting that they were hungry and skipping meals. As a result I became involved with a few projects, including the “You Can’t Tell By Looking” project and the Summer Lunch Bridge with the Ravenswood School District, where we have distributed over 21,000 meals during the last three summers. Since child hunger spikes in the summer, we decided to focus our giving during that time. The schools and the YMCA have been wonderful partners in this endeavor.

The “You Can’t Tell By Looking” project was spearheaded by my colleague Dr. Lucy Crain and the American Academy of Pediatrics Advocacy Committee, which I co-chair. We were all struck by how this seemed like a huge problem that no one knew about. Dr. Crain wisely thought we should put faces with the story to educate the public, pediatricians, and policymakers about this issue. She secured the pro-bono work of a very talented, professional photographer, Karen Ande, to take the pictures of 20 kids and families at a San Francisco street fair. Half of them screened positive for food insecurity. The take home message, when you view the stunning photos, is that HALF of these kids are experiencing food insecurity and you can’t tell by looking. The exhibit has well received and displayed in San Francisco and will hang in the State Capital this spring.

What inspires you to give?
My patients inspire me to address this issue. They work so hard, frequently working 2 or 3 jobs per family. It’s so hard to make ends meet, especially in this area. As a result, some months they can’t do it. It’s easy to be inspired by hard-working people who are trying to give their kids every opportunity. It’s really the least I can do.

Why should people care about hunger in our community?
I think people should care for two reasons. One, it literally is all around us – the janitors in your school, your child’s teachers’ aides, the person bagging your groceries – many of these people work hard and have a hard time making ends meet; they are skipping meals. Why not help when there are people in need? Two, it’s so easy to do! Second Harvest makes it simple to make a difference right now, today.

Why do you support Second Harvest?
I’m very impressed with the leadership team at Second Harvest – they are statewide leaders, run a well-organized ship, and are working hard to provide healthy, fresh food to all who need it in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. What’s not to love?

***Click here to find out how you can help feed our neighbors in need.