SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Even before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, hundreds of thousands of Bay Area families were already stretched beyond their financial limits, often forced to choose between buying groceries, paying the rent, or buying medicine.

Across the Bay Area, the need for food assistance is unprecedented and growing. Collectively, Bay Area food banks estimate that they are now serving about a million people each month.

Throughout the country, food banks are facing an additional challenge on top of increased demand: surging food prices and supply chain issues. Due to inflation, some nutritious staples are now costing shoppers and food banks considerably more than they previously did.

“This year, many of us will celebrate the holiday and enjoy a special meal with our families and friends. We must ensure that all our neighbors can do the same,” said Barbara Abbot Vice President of Supply Chain for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. “We have worked hard to overcome the barriers caused by the supply chain to meet the increased need for food assistance since the pandemic, but it puts tremendous strain on our financial resources, and our volunteer capacity is over-extended.”

In these challenging times, food banks help provide a lifeline to those facing hunger by offering a number of free food resources.

For the past 20 years, KPIX 5 has sponsored Food for Bay Area Families, a campaign to help raise much-needed funds for the Bay Area’s food banks. Every dollar raised provides 2 meals.

Please join us in the fight against hunger. Here are a few ways you can help.

You can make a cash donation to your area food bank:

If you aren’t able to make a financial contribution, please consider volunteering.

Volunteers provide essential help getting food out into the community. A couple of hours of your time can really make a difference. To learn more about how you can help, click on the link to your area food bank below.

The Food for Bay Area Families campaign runs through December 31st.