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Local food banks seeing need for food increase as holidays approach

Posted at 6:33 PM, Oct 10, 2022

Over the past year, it seems like prices for everything have gone up and with the holiday season approaching, many are struggling to make ends meet. The Santa Barbara County Food Bank is already seeing an increase in those needing food.

"Over the past few months, we have seen an increase in the need for food and due to inflation and rising gas prices, those in our community with the lowest income have been hit the hardest and that's where the food bank comes in to help," said Patricia Aguirre, North County Community Engagement Coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Food Bank.

Approximately one in four Californians are struggling with food insecurity. To address this, the food bank purchases, collects and distributes food to those in need year round

"I think when it comes to food, people think people who are poor or hungry, but what the food bank deals with is food insecurity, so for anybody who just runs into a bad time or some bills pile up, that's what the... that's who the food bank is for," Aguirre said.

To make the most difference, food banks across the Central Coast combine donations with food they purchase at a significant discount.

"The food bank is able to buy eight meals with $1, so monetary donations are always a great thing," Aguirre said.

Garret Olson with the SLO Food Bank agrees. "When we purchase food, we purchase it on pallets and in bulk. We look across the entire nation for vendors to provide us the food that we need to complement our inventory."

With the food banks and their partner agencies, those in need can find assistance and peace of mind this holiday season.

"And while we will always be on the front line of hunger relief in the county, this time of year in particular is very challenging for people. It's a, it's a painful reminder for some people of the situation that they find themselves in, and so we want to provide them nutrition, peace of mind, and an opportunity to enjoy the holidays in a way that that brings back happier memoirs," Olson said.

Both food banks are part of KSBY's Season of Hope campaign. Now in its 11th year, you can help make the holiday season a little brighter for those in need either by making a financial donation to the campaign or making at donation at one of several drop-off locations.

For more information, click here.