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NBC Bay Area: SF and Marin Food Banks seek turkeys, help

November 25, 2013

Reposted from NBC Bay Area
Written by Megan Trihey
Article originally published by NBC Bay Area, Nov. 25, 2013
View the original story here >>

Hard times and the holidays can often mean empty tables for many Bay Area residents.

San Francisco and Marin Food Banks hope to hand out more than 1 million pounds of holiday groceries this year, but organizers said they can’t do it alone.

“We still hope people who are shopping for their own Thanksgiving dinners with think about getting an extra turkey and bringing it to the food bank,” said San Francisco and Marin Food Banks Executive Director Paul Ash.

Ash said turkeys and other meat are the hardest things to get.

“The biggest things that we have demands for this time of year are protein items,” said Ash. “We’re trying to provide meals for families that are something special. We’re able to provide lots of fresh produce that we get from growers here in California and down in the southwest, but it’s the protein items and the special items that are the hardest to get this time of year.”

Cuts to the food stamp program that took started November 1 are making a difference, according to Ash. He said the food bank is seeing families in need that used to have enough food.

The cuts coupled with the lingering effects of the recession makes food banks’ jobs even harder.

“I think a lot of the donors and a lot of the supporters feel like since the recession is over, we must not need as much help at the food bank,” said Ash. “But the number of people we see at the pantries is as high as it was in 2009, 2010, 2011, so to keep up those same levels of service and to help families get the food they need, we still need our donors' support.”

Food bank officials said people who don’t want to donate food can always contribute cash.

“We love when people bring in groceries, especially those turkeys, but when people donate money, for every $1 donation we get, we can distribute $6 worth of food, fresh produce, beans, rice, and other staples that people desperately need,” Ash said. “The money fills in the gaps for the items we can’t get donated.”

To make a donation or to find out where you can drop off food, visit the Food Bank's website.