Bay Area food banks in dire need of donations

'Tis the season for giving and Bay Area food banks can really use it. The challenging economy has forced more families to ask for help.

The San Francisco food bank says the demand is up a staggering 32 percent from last year and contributions aren't keeping pace.

"We really haven't met our goals this fall for fundraising. We're really hoping this December month is going to correct that," Paul Ash from the San Francisco Food Bank said.

It's a similar story in Marin County. Even with its reputation as a wealthy community, officials say there are 17,000 people living in poverty, so they need food to fill these empty boxes.

The Marin County Food Bank will distribute 53 percent more food this year than last and that is not nearly enough.

Volunteers including these employees from the Fireman's Fund are collecting food for Marin and Sonoma Counties and they have a goal of 5,000 pounds.

"This is the first year we've actually set a separate goal and asked our employees to step it up even more because, indeed the times have been recognized as being that much more difficult," Paul Stachura from the Fireman's Fund said.

It's estimated that one in every six Alameda County residents relies on the food bank. Last year saw a record shattering 38 percent increase in demand over the previous year and officials are bracing for what's ahead because when push comes to shove, families will try to trim their grocery bill.

"They're going to still have to pay the rent, still pay the utility costs, the one place where they can economize is their food budget and the food bank has to distribute enough food to be able to keep up with the collective need that is growing," Suzan Bateson from the Alameda County Food Bank said.

The food banks throughout the Bay Area say in addition to rice, canned goods and other groceries they need money. With their buying power, your dollars go much further.

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