People get into the giving spirit with food donations


On Wednesday, high school students volunteered their time to sort food and bag chestnuts at the San Francisco Food Bank.

"It's really fun and you feel really good afterward that you got to help and you're getting food out to people who are in need," says 17-year-old Montaiesha Hayes, a Mercy High School senior.

Volunteer ranks have swelled by 30 percent this year, far beyond expectations -- the unemployed made up a good chunk of that. However, the need has grown too by 20 percent, but donations are not growing at the same pace.

"I don't want to say our donations aren't up, they are up 10 percent. It's just not enough and that's heartbreaking part of it -- that we work harder, we bring in more volunteers, 18,000 people came down and volunteered last year and it's still not enough," says Paul Ash with the San Francisco Food Bank.

At 1515 Restaurant in Walnut Creek the owners gave away 1,000 turkeys, half of them to those who happened to be passing by.

"Do you need a turkey? Actually no, to be honest, I'm going to give it as a gift to someone," says Pumima Kalra from Walnut Creek.

The other 500 went to a variety of East Bay charities, including Concord's St. Francis of Assisi Church. Catholic Charities says without these turkeys, 100 parishioners would not have Thanksgiving dinner.

"Certainly things have changed. There's a lot of need, a lot of people are not working lately, especially in very needy places [where] the church is providing services," says Vicky Lizarraga with Catholic Charities of the East Bay.

The owners say the turkeys were bought with the proceeds of a fundraiser and their own contributions.

"We're getting a lot of people that are coming in from Richmond, Antioch, Brentwood. We had a group come in from Pinole," says Tony Dudum, the 1515 co-owner.

"We're blessed and it's not us who's giving it out, it's our customers who donate so much to this," says Jack Dudum, the 1515 co-owner.

The several hundred turkeys given away to individuals were gone in about an hour.

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