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Hundreds of people line up for holiday food distribution in Santa Maria

Foodbank cars
Posted at 2:59 PM, Dec 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-23 22:06:43-05

Friday morning, volunteers in Santa Maria helped make a holiday dinner possible for hundreds of people in need.

"Today we are actually giving away some turkeys and chickens, some fresh produce, some really good canned food and staple items that can get people some healthy meals during this season," said Laurel Alcantar, senior development manager for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Volunteers and staff with the Foodbank hosted its second holiday food distribution event of the winter season Friday, just weeks after running out of supplies during their drive-thru distribution that took place ahead of Thanksgiving.

"We actually had to turn away about 200 cars because the need was so much more than we anticipated it would be," Alcantar added.

Even hours before Friday's distribution, organizers anticipated the same, or an even larger turnout. Foodbank volunteers say they arrived at their Santa Maria warehouse off Foster Road at 7am, and by that time, a miles-long line of cars was already wrapped around the building.

Santa Maria mother Yolanda Garcia was just one of hundreds who stopped by to pick up food.

"It helps a lot because they give us fruits, vegetables, many things that make it possible to eat," Garcia told KSBY.

She says this is the first time she has lined up early for the drive-thru distribution, adding that she will be sure to come by for the next one, too.

"I would like to give thanks to all who are here helping, for giving us food right now for our Christmas dinners," Garcia added.

Foodbank volunteers are also emphasizing the heightened demand for food seen in their community during the holidays, saying they were happy to come out for the early wakeup call Friday morning to lend a hand in the fight against food insecurity.

"If you have to worry about getting food for your children or even a meal for yourself, it is a rough way to live life and this takes a little bit of that stress off," said Chuck Moore, who began volunteering with the nonprofit earlier this year.

"It is Christmas time! We love giving away food for them," added fellow volunteer, Domingo Tabin.

Organizers say more than 800 cars stopped by for Friday's distribution, but this time none were turned away.

In case you missed the holiday drive-thru distribution event and are still in need of food for the holiday weekend, the Foodbank also has its recurring Saturday morning grocery distributions at the Pacific Christian Center off Blosser Road.