The San Luis Obispo County Food Bank honored Hunger Awareness Day June 4 by collecting donations across the county to support those in need.
This year is the 15th annual event held every year on the first Friday of June with donation booths at 12 different locations.
Branna Still is the development director at the SLO Food Bank. She said one in six people in San Luis Obispo County were experiencing food insecurity prior to the pandemic.
Still said this number has only increased. In the last year, the Food Bank distributed more than five million pounds of food — a 54 percent increase over the previous year.
“We noticed a lot of people were coming towards our warehouse at the height of COVID and had a trepidation in their voice,” Still said. “You could clearly tell they were asking for assistance for the first time in their lives.”
Still said this makes Hunger Awareness Day just that much more important this year. She said the Food Bank expects a long road to recovery after such widespread food insecurity.
“Economists are telling us that it’s not going to be measured in months, but more so in years, until we’ll see a hunger rate that is similar to pre-pandemic hunger rate,” Still said.
San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon spoke in support of the mission of the SLO Food Bank, asking community members to join her in becoming monthly donors.
Still said the Food Bank can provide seven meals with each dollar they receive.
If you missed the donation sites on Friday, you can donate online at any time.
The SLO Food Bank is also always looking for volunteers for help in the warehouse, distributing food or supporting special events.
Find more information about how to get involved at slofoodbank.org.