SANTA ROSA (KPIX) — The Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa has never been busier than they are this holiday season and they think this surge in demand is only the beginning.
It is the largest food bank in Sonoma County and directly supplies the public and other small food charities.
CEO David Goodman says that, during its 33-year history, the need he’s seeing this year has never been greater.
“We’ve been through multiple fires,” Goodman said Thursday. “We’ve been through floods, political disasters. We’ve been through PSPs, the PG&E shutdowns and now, a global pandemic.”
Redwood Empire Food Bank is distributing twice the amount of food as last year, enough for 22 million meals.
The organization relies on volunteers to repackage bulk food for local deliveries and the Santa Rosa community is stepping in to help out.
“Can’t pay your bills then you can’t eat but this is a great place because you can come here and get food for free,” said volunteer Kathy Dutton.
Local chef Don Nolan is helping organize the dozens of volunteers, running the parking lot much as he would his kitchen.
“We have people who have never used the food bank before. We have middle-income families that really are hurting,” he told KPIX.
The food bank is preparing for a long winter, Goodman said.
“I think that things are going to get a lot worse.”