Food shortage at Salvation Army locations across Bay Area

December 14, 2011 7:32:46 PM PST
Hundreds of Bay Area families may not have a holiday meal because of a critical food shortage. A desperate call for help is out today from Salvation Army donation centers across the Bay Area.

There are 1,600 families who have signed up for groceries and Christmas gifts from the Salvation Army serving Alameda County. At this point, the Salvation Army has enough for 500 of those families. Not even meeting half of the need.

"I was up at 4:30 this morning, I was a little anxious making a list in my head of what I have to get done and how am I going to get this need met," said John Covert of the Salvation Army serving Alameda County .

Covert has no idea why donations are so low this year. And he's not one to cry wolf. He did not make this same plea last year.

"Last year was pretty decent we had enough toys and enough food that we were able to produce another 1,500 families last year," said Covert.

A few local churches have donated a good supply of toys. And the Alameda County Food Bank has given some food. But he can't ask them for more.

"We've already tapped out the Alameda County Food Bank, so now we're looking to the public to really help us provide the rest of what we need," said Covert.

Not only does he need a lot of food, he needs it right away. The families are scheduled to pick up their Christmas donations on Tuesday.

"I will make this happen, one way or the other I'm going to make this happen, because we've committed to these families and I don't want them to show up at Laney College on Tuesday and have to say 'sorry I don't have a box of food for you.' So by hook or crook I'll figure out how to make this happen," said Covert.

The food shortage is not isolated to Alameda County. Across the Bay Area, The Salvation Army has seen a sharp decrease in food donations: upwards of 20 to 25 percent. Demand for assistance is also up.

Food donations can be made at any participating Salvation Army location. Food or monetary donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at The Salvation Army's various locations across Alameda County. For San Francisco and Peninsula locations, call 415-553-3568. You can get more for more donation information at Salvationarmysf.org.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties is also asking for your help this holiday season. It only has a quarter of the food and cash donations it was counting on. But, the number of people served has increased by almost 50 percent in the past few years.

The need is great. If you'd like to help, join us all day Thursday for ABC7's "Share the Holiday Food Drive". We'll be raising money for all food banks throughout the Bay Area.


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