Foodbank of Santa Barbara County CEO Erik Talkin to attend State of the Union Address as guest of Congressmember Salud Carbajal

Carbajal Invites Foodbank of Santa Barbara County CEO as SOTU Guest

Organization was instrumental in feeding federal workers impacted during 35-day government shutdown

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) announced that Foodbank of Santa Barbara County CEO, Erik Talkin, will attend the President’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 as his guest. During the longest government shutdown in history that ended last week, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County distributed over 21,296 pounds of food to 458 families of unpaid and furloughed federal workers on the Central Coast.

“For over a month, 800,000 federal workers across the country didn’t know when their next paycheck would arrive due to the President’s refusal to open the government over his border wall fixation,” said Carbajal. “The Santa Barbara County Foodbank stepped up immediately to help feed federal workers in our community who didn’t know where else to turn. The Trump Administration has also signaled that they intend to implement harmful changes to nutrition assistance programs that help everyday families put food on the table. As a recent addition to the House Agriculture Committee, I want to join Erik in sending the President a strong message: we will not allow yet another roadblock to be placed in front of struggling families who are working hard to get back on their feet.”

“The Foodbank is thrilled to have its long work in ending food insecurity, moving the community from hunger to health with education and disaster preparedness,” Talkin explained. “Most recently, since the onset of the partial federal government shutdown, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County provided fresh produce and healthy groceries to 1,500 individuals. Hardest hit were communities within the county that already face a high rate of food insecurity, so the loss of income from furloughs was truly painful. We are seeing continued need even since the three-week continuing resolution was enacted. Affected families were not immediately able to get back on their feet, having delayed many expenses and now contending with bills that piled up, unpaid, during the shutdown.”

“As part of my month-long Food Security Challenge, I have been talking with homeless vets, students and  federal employees who visited our emergency food distributions. Just yesterday, I met with federal workers in Lompoc facing the same challenges that food insecure families face all the time: having to choose between paying for electricity or food, rent or food; car repairs or food; a visit to the doctor or food.”

In any given year, the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County distributes 10 million pounds of food and, along with 300 community and nonprofit partners, serves 1 in 4 residents of the county, 40% of whom are children. Due to natural disasters or unexpected loss of income, in cases such as the partial government shutdown, many of our neighbors are vulnerable to food insecurity. Responding to the recent need faced by federal employees affected by the shutdown constituted yet another broadening of the Foodbank’s reach in the community.

Roughly 86,140 residents in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties suffer from food insecurity.

The Department of Agriculture proposed new work requirements today aimed at restricting states flexibility to request waivers for SNAP benefits based on local job availability and conditions. This rule subverts Congress’ intent in the 2018 Farm Bill as such changes were deliberated and specifically rejected.

On Monday, Erik began his fourth Food Security Challenge that will continue during his attendance at the State of the Union. For one month every other year, Talkin spends on food only what he can afford using the maximum CalFresh (SNAP/food stamps) benefit for a household of one: $194 per month, or $6.46 a day. The public may follow the challenge as it unfolds in Talkin’s blog at For more about Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, visit


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