Bay Area food banks face critical shortage of volunteers despite increased need

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — Food insecurity in the Bay Area has returned to pandemic levels according to a major local food bank. Despite the higher need, the number of volunteers is at an all-time low.

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley serves people and organizations in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

“Most people who get free groceries from different organizations, those organizations get that food from us for free,” said Tracy Weatherby, the food bank’s vice president of strategy and advocacy, “The food bank therefore has a really central role in making sure that the community gets the food it needs.

But the food bank says providing the service has become even more urgent again.

MORE: ‘Food deserts’: Nearly 900 Bay Area neighborhoods have limited access to food

“People are shocked to realize that we are serving, at this point, as many people as we were at the height of the pandemic – because it looks like the crisis is over, but the crisis is far from over for people. low-income people,” Weatherby said.

While cash donations are always needed, the food bank says one of the biggest needs right now is for volunteers.

Unless they get more in the coming weeks, it will be difficult to meet production targets.

“We see a slump in general in the summer, people are engaged with school ending, they’re going on vacation,” Weatherby said, “But the truth is you’re going on vacation, we’re not.”

The problem, they say, is not limited to San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

MORE: Food access deteriorates in this Bay Area county as inflation hits 40-year high

“We talk to our Bay Area food bank colleagues in other counties all the time, and we all see the same thing,” she said, “increased needs and diminished resources. So you know, we really need volunteers.”

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley offers many different volunteer schedules.

From packing produce to sorting milk and eggs, they say there are tasks almost anyone can do.

“Please think of us while you have some free time and come spend an afternoon with us, come spend a morning with us,” Weatherby said, “We would really appreciate that help.

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