(KRON) — We’re counting down the days to our parent company Nexstar Broadcasting’s annual Founder’s Day of Caring. Recently, we stopped by the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland.
An estimated one million people in the Bay Area rely on food banks – a number that soared during the pandemic.
“It’s a little bit selfish. It makes me feel good to do that,” said Marie-Claude Provencher, a lead volunteer at the bank.
“Every piece of food that we package is gonna go to somebody who really needs it,” said John Moe, another lead volunteer.
The level of food insecurity countywide accelerated during the public health emergency. The Alameda County Community Food Bank says that one in every four county residents is in need.
“We are sending 50 to 70-percent more food out the door to serve the need than we were prior to the pandemic,” said spokesperson Michael Altfest.
That’s more than 50 million pounds of food. Farm fresh produce and non-perishable items are packaged five to six days a week at the food bank’s warehouse in Oakland and then distributed to families at some 400 community pick up sites.
Altfest says increased demand from the public has resulted in the nonprofit’s expansion. At its warehouse in Oakland, a new and larger cooler has been constructed to accommodate more food.
“It’s just went up in the last couple of weeks. In fact, we just turned it on this week. We have now, as a result of this, tripled our cooler space in our warehouse,” said Altfest. “This is all of our shelf stable storage. We’ve got tomato sauce and all the canned vegetables; everything is up here. So, we’ve got twice this space now then we did before.”
That’s because the food bank is in it for the long haul.
“We knew going into this that the hunger part of this emergency was going to outlast the health part of this emergency,” said Altfest
“Because of the impacts on the economy, and you know, just the unstability in the world,” Moe added.