Woman gives back to organization that fed her family

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A Bay Area woman is helping families put food on the table this holiday season, a struggle she and her own family know all too well.

A Bay Area woman is helping families put food on the table this holiday season, a struggle she and her own family know all too well.

In a San Carlos parking lot, Irene Bender and her two daughters handed out fresh fruits and vegetables. Families in need lined up Monday afternoon at the produce mobile to get a little something healthy to put on the table.

"People have walked up to me and said you're doing a wonderful thing and that's a great compliment," bender said. "I've gotten hugs from some of the people."

What those people may not know is that Bender and her family have stood in the same line.

"We had to take in my very ill mother to our home," Bender said. "We've gone through the same economic hardships that other people have gone through as well."

With her mother's medical bills, and only her husband's income, she says the food from the Second Harvest Food Bank sustained their family, a gift she now hopes to pass on.

"I'm here so other people can be helped as well," she said. "Everyone needs to eat, and so I come out with my girls and I volunteer."

Bender and her daughters are lending a hand at a critical time. The recovering economy hasn't alleviated hunger for everyone in the Bay Area.

"Basically, the rising cost of living is making it difficult for people to make ends meet," Alisha Keezer of the Second Harvest Food Bank said.

While some people have gone back to work, others have found their fixed income no longer buys what it used to, making the need here greater than ever.

Volunteers like Irene's family save the Food Bank $6 million a year in labor costs and that lets them buy more food for the 250,000 people they serve every month. For Bender's young daughters, it's more than that.

"Helping people builds your self-esteem and stuff because people compliment you and it's just nice to give to other people," Bender's 12-year-old daughter Dakota Beaumont said.

It gives them wisdom and hope.

This month, ABC7 and our parent company Disney are giving $75,000 to local Feeding America food banks. But they still need more help! Research shows 1 in 6 people in the Bay Area go hungry every month. You can help by making a $10 donation, just by texting the word FEED to 80077.

Click here to find out more about how you can give Where You Live!

Related Topics:
societyfood bankhungerhomelesscommunityabc7 thanksgiving food drive 2014where you livecontra costa countysolano countyMartinez
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