Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest weeks of the year for food banks on the Central Coast as they work to satisfy holiday needs while maintaining the daily service they provide throughout the year.
Locally, statistics show as many as one in four people suffer from food insecurity, with a large number of these being children and seniors. To help combat this, Food Banks function as a hub, partnering with hundreds of organizations to distribute food to the various regions.
During this time of year, food banks see a spike in donations of both food and money.
Melissa Kendrick is the Development Director for the Food Bank of Monterey County. She says hunger is becoming an epidemic that prevents kids and adults from reaching their full potential.
"Although we love all the attention we get around the holiday season-- November and December-- sadly, as we say, 'hungry never takes a holiday' " Kendrick said. She said their numbers for need are greatest during the first few months of the new year; other Central Coast food banks see this trend too.
Food bank representatives say the ongoing drought is cause for concern, especially if it continues into this winter it could significantly affect families who rely on agricultural work.
"We know that people are not able to save as much as they normally would during the growing season, so we expect this to be a particularly harsh winter," said Kendrick.
Carl Hansen is the CEO of the Food Bank of San Luis Obispo County, and says even with unemployment decreasing, the numbers of those hungry remain relatively the same.