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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 2:10 am | Fair 46º


Foodbank Issues Appeal for Food, Money Donations

The agency is struggling to keep up with demand as warehouse racks turn empty

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is asking for food and funds during the lean summer months to help stock the warehouses, which have bare racks where there once were pallets of food.

With food manufacturers’ donations being unusually low, as well as monetary donations, the Foodbank is struggling to keep the food coming in for the 260 Santa Barbara nonprofit member agencies to meet the needs of their clients and families.

“Children are home for the summer, and their families don’t have enough food to feed them,” Foodbank Executive Director Erik Talkin said. “We need the people who are lucky enough to have jobs to dig deep and help by donating food and funds so we can continue to feed the growing number of hungry people.”

The most needed items are cereal, a variety of canned goods, toilet paper, diapers and funding. The Foodbank can take a $1 donation and distribute $9 of food.

“We are seeing more and more of the unemployed who have never needed our services before,” said David Coelho of Catholic Charities. “We are seeing it all: new families at our distribution sites, families who have lost their home, or one of their jobs. They have never been in this position before.”

In a landmark hunger study published by Feeding America, the nation’s network of food banks, 47 percent of the households served by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County have one or more employed adults in the home, and 40 percent of those have been unemployed for more than two years.

“Parents are going without and so are working families,” Talkin said. “What is here in the warehouse today will be gone in a week or two at the most.”

The Foodbank provides a vital link between the multifaceted food industry and people in need of food. With warehouses in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, the Foodbank distributes food through 264 member agencies, programs, social service organizations and churches.

More than 43 percent of those served are youths younger than age 18. In 2009, the Foodbank distributed 9 million pounds of food, including more than 3.7 million pounds of fresh produce to more than 155,000 people in need.

Click here for more information. Or text “FOOD10” to 85944 and reply “yes” to contribute $10.

— Kerry Aller is the community relations manager for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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