SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Needy families and the homeless lined up around the block as volunteers at Sacred Heart Community Service handed out thousands of holiday food boxes Monday, more than the organization has ever tried to distribute before.

The demand for extra assistance this year is even greater than last year, despite the drop in the Santa Clara County unemployment rate, said executive director Pocho Guevera.

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“We keep hearing stories about how the economy’s turning a corner, but until we see those lines drop down, I’m not going to believe it,” said Guevera, surveying a blockbuster line that was only about half of the recipients.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Those in line had already stood in line once before to register for the giveaway. The church signed up about 4,000 in all.

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Those with access to a kitchen walked away with either ham, chicken or turkey to cook on Thanksgiving. For the first time, the contents of some of the bags have been specifically tailored for the homeless.

“We’re glad to offer it, but we’re devastated that that need is increasing year over year,” Guevera said.

Anyone in more precarious circumstances was given a bag filled with pop top canned food, fresh fruit, vegetables and other items that didn’t require extensive preparation.

The non-profit is likely to run out of turkeys before the last box is handed out later this week, and Guevera said drop-off donations are welcome. Donors can show up with a bird, or send cash so they can buy more. Click here for more info.

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