Coronavirus Relief: San Jose rolls out website to help South Bay residents find free meals as need grows

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- With news of an additional 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment this week, food banks in the South Bay are ramping up efforts to get more meals to those in need.

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley is the food bank serving families in both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

CEO Leslie Bacho said the organization's hotline that you can call to find where you can get a free meal usually gets about 180 calls a day, but is now seeing more than 1,000 calls a day from people who have never needed help before.

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There was a steady stream of people pulling up to San Jose High School Thursday morning taking advantage of the new drive thru food distribution service provided by San Jose Unified schools in partnership with Second Harvest.

Thursday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also announced an expanded effort to provide food to those in need.

"We're working with our partners to scale our food delivery system countywide quickly to be able to serve 400,000 meals a day," said Liccardo.

A new website is being rolled out for Santa Clara County showing the list of meal pick up sites for students in the Bay Area and seniors in need of having food delivered to them.

While seniors and children are the priority, Mayor Liccardo emphasized that these services are available for anyone in need.

"These are challenging times. So many of our partners are converting their distribution sites to drive thru distributions," explained Bacho.

"We are now packing boxes of food at our warehouse to try and keep people safe. We have the national guard in and they are building more than 10,000 boxes of food a day."

At you will find an interactive map of where you can pick up food for your student.

You will also find a sign-up to get food delivered if you are a senior.

Mayor Liccardo called for more volunteers to step up and donate their time to help pack or distribute food to those in need. If you'd like to donate time or money you can find ways to do so at the newly unveiled website.

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You can also dial 2-1-1 to find all of the information as you would on the website.

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