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Foodbank Calls for Donations for the Holidays

{mosimage}Foodbank of Santa Barbara County needs to come up with 5,000 turkeys by Wednesday.


Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is once again calling on the community to remember the hungry this holiday season. The nonprofit has set a goal for 5,000 turkeys to be collected at both its North County and South Coast branches for its Thanksgiving food drive.

“Some of these turkeys never even made it inside,” said Executive Director Jim Mangis on Saturday at the 4554 Hollister Ave. warehouse. Volunteers barely had enough time to count the birds as they were transferred from the donors’ vehicle straight to the recipients’ truck.

Little by little, the turkeys are coming in. Early last weekend the count had risen to about 3,300 turkeys, and it looks like Foodbank is going to reach its goal by deadline on Wednesday.

Inside the warehouse are rows of shelves stocked with dry goods and nonperishables, staples of Foodbank’s supplies throughout the year. A relatively new project is their fresh produce distribution program, aimed at getting very-low-income families nutritious fruits and vegetables.

“It’s easier to buy and eat less nutritious foods if you’re on a low income,” said Mangis. “Fruits and vegetables are harder to come by regularly.”

The sad truth, according to Mangis, is that no matter how much is sent out to all the service agencies, shelters and nonprofits to feed the roughly 100,000 people every year who take advantage of Foodbank services, there always seems to be more hungry mouths to feed.

Food insecurity, or the uncertainty that one can acquire food for themselves or their family, is a major contributor to stress among the low-income families and often results in people forgoing other essential purchases like medicines in order to meet their basic needs, he said. Mangis added children in such households miss school more often, and tend to do poorly. Food-insecure individuals may be more anxious and depressed, he said.

Still, Mangis is optimistic about the South Coast community’s ability to come forward and take care of their own. Standing in front of a bin filling with turkeys, he said he’s impressed by people’s willingness to take a little time and money to help feed the unfortunate families who struggle to keep food on the table.

“We’ve been having a very good collection,” he said. "That means we have a very good community.”

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