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Drought Squeezing Local Foodbanks

Published On: Apr 16 2014 07:14:23 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2014 12:27:15 PM CDT

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The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County helps those who need help putting food on the table.

"The majority of people who we serve are working", Foodbank of Santa Barbara County CEO Eric Talkin told reporters at the Foodbank warehouse in Santa Maria,  "often people think that the Foodbank provides to homeless people, really they are only about 8 percent of who we serve, the rest are people that are trying to get a job or who are working, so it's a very challenging environment and people are trying to survive and stay healthy."

The immediate impact of the ongoing drought in California is starting to be felt throughout the state including front line social safety network agencies like Foodbanks.

"The drought is already having a serious affect on our ability to afford and provide fresh produce to hungry people and to our member network of 300-plus programs and agencies in the county", Talkin says.

Foodbanks are now having to compete with others in the food industry for staple crops like onions, potatoes, carrots and corn that are down in production due to the drought.

"The largest growing sector is children and youth services", says Jamie Nichols of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, "now these are local Boys and Girls Clubs, local YMCA's, these are programs that are increasingly requesting and wanting more and more produce so this demand for produce goes up with our member agencies our supply is becoming harder and harder to secure both within the county and throughout the state."

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County welcomes donations of fresh produce.

But it says cash donations are what's really needed to help it weather the tough economic climate of the ongoing drought.



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