SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, a large donation of French-style cheese is going to help thousands of families in need this holiday season. The Redwood Empire Food Bank is creating meals with the cheese, at a time when the need for food has never been greater.
Chef Don Nolan says when life gives you fancy Brie cheese, make a nutritious meal.
"You might be surprised, just because you're hungry doesn't mean you don't have a fine palate," said Nolan.
One thousand wheels of triple cream brie was donated Friday to the Redwood Empire Food Bank, by the Marin French Cheese Company. They're for the food bank's kitchen staff, to make something amazing for as many people as possible.
"I've got maybe 1,200 pounds of cheese, that's pretty exciting because that will make about 3,500 to 4,000 meals," Nolan added.
For starters, Chef Nolan and his crew will pair the cheese with crackers, almonds and fruit, all from ingredients donated to the food bank. It will then be given to families at daily food distributions, like the one at MLK Memorial Park in Santa Rosa. New mom Mariano Centeno says inflation and high prices have put many groceries out of reach.
"Other stores we go to - it's too much, being able to take care of her and working and paying rent and stuff," Centeno said.
Food bank officials say they're struggling to meet the increasing demand from the community.
"Originally, families who thought they'd never be in a food line before are coming to us for assistance, the need is greater than it's ever been, we're doing all we can to keep up," said Rachelle Mesheau, from Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Pre-pandemic, the food bank says it was serving 17,000 families per month but now it's, 38,000.
"We're just keeping up with it, it's difficult out there now, people are having a hard time," said Nolan.
Chef Nolan says a brie cheese plate won't change the world, but maybe it's a special treat this season. Because hunger never takes a holiday.
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