San Jose food pantry calling on community to help

SAN JOSE, Calif.

"Not too good," Margarita Hernandez said describing what the holidays would be like at her house if not for the help of Sacred Heart. She got in line around 5:45 Friday morning which is why she was waiting around the corner from the front door and half way down the street. Crystal Cordova spent the night in the cold and rain to get a better spot. "We've got a house full of people. We've got eight people living in our house, so we're crowded and money's tight," she told ABC7 News.

Crystal and Margarita are among some 4,000 people who will register for free holiday food ahead of Thanksgiving. "It doesn't surprise us to see this number of people. It is really scary to see people that are braving the elements to come out just for that opportunity," Executive Director Poncho Guevara said.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese went to see for himself. "There's a lot more people besides these who are in need. There's over 120,000 households in this county which are below the federally-adjusted poverty level," he said. But there's also wealth in the Silicon Valley and Sacred Heart is counting on the community to make the food boxes possible. "So right now, we have four turkeys in the freezer. We need 4,000 by a week and a half from now," Guevara said.

They'll need more in December too. "We're doing a call to action to people. Get involved. The key is to donate. Do a drive in your local neighborhood, in your churches, your corporations. Do a drive to be able to participate in the solutions to poverty," Director of Self Sufficiency Programs Lydia Guel said. That way, one day, maybe there will be fewer people in line. "When times are better, then we won't have to, and leave that spot for somebody else to come and do it. But for right now, it is a big blessing and a big help that we can come out here," Hernandez said.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Sacred Heart needs 7,000 boxes of food. They also need toys, which people can also register for on Friday. Doors close Friday at 6 p.m.

People that want to help can go to and make a financial contribution or learn how to donate food. They can also visit the Sacred Heart Community Services Facebook page to see videos of customers and how they celebrate Thanksgiving.

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