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Bay Area food bank needs help amid holiday season

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ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Now that the holiday season is upon us, some Bay Area food banks are finding themselves struggling to assist those at-risk of food insecurity.

Fighting food insecurity during the pandemic as Thanksgiving 2020 approaches is so intense that the Alameda County Food Bank’s director of community engagement says pre-COVID Thanksgiving 2019 is a complete blur.

“You know it’s funny to even think about it, I can barely remember last November,” Michael Altfest said. “This last year has been many years in itself.”

That is because the number of people needing food has doubled from this time last year.

“We have never seen numbers like we have seen this year and we expect as we head deeper into November and December, closer to the holidays, we’re probably going to see the longest lines we have ever experienced,” Altfest said. “Right now we estimate at least 1-in-4 is experiencing at-risk of hunger and collectively around the Bay Area at least 1.5 million Bay Area residents right now are in need of food bank assistance.”

Since July, the Alameda County Food Bank has been helping bay area residents keep food on the table without the assistance of the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

“There has not been another coronavirus relief package since March,” Altfest said. “The USDA simply hasn’t contracted with any venders in Northern California that could help the Bay Area food banks.”

The Alameda County Food Bank volunteers are helping to serve food for about 70,000 people per day. Altfest explains how the community can help.

“Really the one thing that food banks need right now is financial support,” Altfest said. “Our food costs are through the roof. last year we spent about $400,000 on food in October. This October we spent nearly $1.4 million on food.”

You can also help by lending a hand and becoming a food bank volunteer.

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