SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, with less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, a community food drive is helping families in need this holiday season.
In the spirit of Veteran's Day, local vets competed, collecting food for their own military branches. They had one shared goal: helping the community.
"Our son's in the Marine Corps," said one parent.
It wasn't really a competition, but it kind of was.
"Navy!" shouted another.
The food drive in Santa Rosa was hosted by local veterans from every service branch. They shared a competitive spirit, seeing who could collect the most donations. No pressure.
Everyone was playing favorites, but for good reason.
"I donated to the Army for my grandfather when he served in World War II, a nod to his service and contribution to the country," said Callum Weeks from Santa Rosa.
"I wanted to come out and show my daughter we're out here in the community, trying to help those who served our country," said Corey Frerere.
Sharon Swanson brought food and a cash donation, matched by her employer.
"A $250 check turns into a $500 check," Swanson said.
Santa Rosa City Councilmember Natalie Rogers has relatives in all branches of the military.
"We really do have a need in our community for food. This was a way to show people yes, the veterans helped to serve our country. They came back and continue to serve our country," Rogers said.
"This is a way to give back to the community because we see veterans as well as civilians that need food. We want to be a part of ending hunger. Why not start in your backyard?" said U.S. Army Veteran Aundray Rogers.
The Redwood Empire Food Bank is benefiting from the donations, inflation is making it tough for a record number of families.
"We saw 38,000 families come to us in October. Before the Pandemic we were looking at 17,000 families -- an incredible increase -- and it speaks to the need in the community right now," said Rachelle Mesheau, food bank spokesperson.
At the end of the day, the Marines netted the most donations, with the Army close behind -- a friendly rivalry, but this holiday it seems everyone is a winner here.
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