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South Coast food banks preparing for greater demand

Food Share Ventura County
Senerey de los Santos/KEYT
Food Share Ventura County

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Food donation organizations like Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Food Share in Ventura County are anticipating a higher demand of food very soon.

“Normally we serve about 75,000 people a month and we are now currently serving 150,000 people a month,” said Monica White, President CEO of Food Share Ventura County.

And those numbers are about to go up even more.

Californians who were able to collect an extra $600 in federal unemployment benefits each week will lose that help after Friday. And food banks are getting ready.

“I have no doubt that we will continue to see increased demand from people that are needing food,” said White.

This expectation is the same in Santa Barbara County.

“We saw the need increase and the amount of food that we were distributing increase by 2-and-a-half times, so a 250% increase. We are only expecting that to go up as more people lose unemployment benefits that have helped them get by,” explained Judith Smith-Meyer with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Food banks up and down the coast are collecting as much food as possible.

“We have additional sources at the ready and we are, in these warehouses that we have, stockpiling inventory and continuing to work with every possible source of food that we can find," said Smith-Meyer.

White said, “The good news is that, through the generous support of our community, we have been able to purchase more food than normal."

While warehouses are stocked, many don't see the need slowing down anytime soon.

“Santa Barbara County is expecting the economic impact of this pandemic to continue to deepen at least through the next year, but probably the next couple of years," projected Smith-Meyer.

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