APTOS (CBS SF) — Across the San Francisco Bay Area residents are struggling with the impact of the COVID pandemic and its economic fallout. Local food banks have been stretched to the limit.

In Aptos, the congregation of the Twin Lakes Church decided to do something about it. Over 6-week food drive, church members have generated $428,949.09 for the annual Second Harvest Food Bank holiday food drive.

“We always hope to kick off Second Harvest’s holiday food and fund drive with a splash, but I never expected to bring in this much,” said Twin Lakes pastor Rene Schlaepfer in a news release.

It was the largest donation ever received by Second Harvest during the holiday food drive. The previous record was $319,000 from Plantronics in 2017.

Willy Elliot McCrea, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank said he was “speechless … absolutely floored” by the donation.

“That is going to make such a huge impact for so many families,” McCrea said. “The need is great: Since the COVID crisis began, and then the fires created more need, food distributions in Santa Cruz County have doubled.”

The congregation’s participation was enthusiastic said Schlaepfer, who shared a handwritten note from one congregant:

“Dear Twin Lakes Church, Over the months of our church being closed, we’ve been so grateful to join TLC online. My children wanted to contribute their allowance to the food drive. I hope and pray you can reach our goal of one million meals! In Christ, Michelle Leavitt.” The envelope contained $100 in cash.”

Twin Lakes Church began participating in the Holiday Food Drive in 2006. Total donations that first year were $947.70.

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