North Bay food bank demand increases ahead of holiday season

Bay Area

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Thanksgiving is two days away but the coronavirus pandemic and the slow economy have left many families in need of food assistance this holiday season.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank provides food assistance to people not only in Sonoma County but also as far north as the Oregon border.  

Right now, they are seeing a massive demand for assistance.

“People wake up and they are hungry and we can help them and we do,” David Goodman said.

Redwood Empire Food Bank CEO David Goodman says that after an initial surge following the start of the coronavirus pandemic demand for food dropped over the summer but as the winter sets in and the coronavirus pandemic drags on demand has spiked.

“The demands right now is exactly what it was after the initial hit of COVID-19,” Goodman said.

They are providing food to 80,000 to 90,000 people per month — Roughly 30,000 households.

They have also added 42 extra distribution locations across Northern California, which brings them up to 300 locations between Sonoma County and the Oregon border.

While demand is up, donations of food and money are down. They are also worried that federal assistance could soon end.

Goodman says they need help from the community.

“The first thing we need is time. We need volunteers. We are only 70 staff at the foodbank but we are 8,500 volunteers. We need food. We are the Redwood Empire Food Bank, without food we are entirely irrelevant. Then we need funds, without financial contribution, we can’t fuel our trucks, we can’t run the refrigerators and we can’t pay the dedicated staff,” Goodman said.

If anyone wants to volunteer or make a food or financial donation, they can visit Redwood Empire’s website at www.refb.org.

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