The San Francisco Food Bank raises 60 to 65 percent of its annual funds during the holiday season. Buying in bulk, they can turn $1 into $6 worth of food and they're no longer just helping the homeless.
"Now almost half of the folks we serve have someone in the household who has a job," said Paul Ash with the San Francisco Food Bank.
Ash has been with the San Francisco agency for 22 years.
"In the past two years, it felt like an avalanche of new people," Ash said.
Those people include Arletta Jorngenson of Milpitas. Raising two daughters and a teenaged nephew, the Second Harvest Food Bank in the South Bay has been a lifeline for Jorngenson since she lost her job.
"With the economy being so hard, and my unemployment just ran out, that left me with even less money," said Jorngenson.
Food banks throughout the Bay Area serve half a million people a year. Much of the food, with a new emphasis on fresh produce, goes to the neighborhood pantries to give to those struggling with hunger. And they're relying on you.
"A lot of people have the sense that foundations or corporation or some big entity somewhere provides the money to keep organizations like ours going," Ash said. "The truth is, it's individuals, it's the gift of individuals, that make the difference."
That includes the gift of volunteers: 25,000 help out every year in San Francisco alone.
"I like their whole motto, to try to end hunger, and I think it's a really nice thing to do," said volunteer Roshon Murray.
Jorngenson wants donors to know they are not wasting their time or money.
"I just want to be able to say thank you to everyone who does help," said Jorngenson. "It helps a lot. It means a lot of [sic] some people, and it means a lot to me."
A $10 donation to your local food bank can provide a family like hers with a holiday meal.
If you'd like to help, join us all day Thursday for ABC7's "Share Your Holiday Food Drive." ABC7 will be raising money for food banks throughout the Bay Area. By texting the word "FEED" to 80077, you'll get the ball rolling by donating $10, or you can call 1-800-515-1719.