First, it was the Omicron variant, then inflation, and now the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is trying to ride the wave as demand for help increases and the cost of getting it to people skyrockets.
Paul Wilkins, the Chief Operating Officer of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara, told KSBY "we have seen about a 30% increase over the first two months of this calendar year. In both our number of clients served and the number of pounds of food going out the door.”
The Foodbank said while the demand increased but the supply of food has not.
“We are down about 15% for this calendar year, mainly because of the continuing supply chain issues in the grocery retail chain. So anything the community can do to help provide additional food resources for us would be greatly appreciated.”
The Foodbank is seeing increased lines, especially for their drive-thru weekend distributions. On the first Saturday every month, they hold a distribution at the Santa Maria warehouse. They started off the program serving about 200 families a month.
“Now we're up to about 400 to 500 families. So we're definitely seeing the need increase. The issues of inflation and gas prices become more and more of an issue,” noted Wilkins.
They’re also dealing with increased fuel costs which impact them daily as they drive food from the Santa Maria warehouse to Santa Barbara.
“We've seen an increase of about 25%. We've been able to budget for that by cutting some expenses and supplies and delaying deferred maintenance,” said Wilkins.