Ventura and Santa Barbara County food banks are reporting the number of people using their services this year has doubled.
Ventura County's largest food bank - Food Share - based in Oxnard, now estimates it’s distributing to 150,000 people per month as it get set to hold a Mega Distribution on Sunday.
At the warehouse headquarters of Food Share, pantry items are getting boxed and ready to be distributed.
Monica White, Food Share’s President and CEO, says there are more families than ever who are counting on their service.
"The people that we are seeing that are affected by COVID are working families. There are also people who are under-employed, or they may have lost their job because of the COVID shutdowns. It could be people who have two wortking parents in their family and they still don't have enough to make ends meet," she told KCLU.
Even in normal circumstances, an estimated 1 in 6 people in Ventura County experiences food insecurity. Food Share usually distributes to 75,000 people per month. But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number is closer to 150,000 per month.
"This year has been crazy. It's been crazy for everyone. It's hit the foodbank hard. We are feeding double the number of people that we normally serve."
She says that they've also seen a decrease in the available food so they had to purchase food, a cost which escalated from $50,000 a month to nearly $400,000 per month just in food purchases.
White says Ventura County is typical of the wider picture across the entire country.
The Mega Food drive is this Sunday from 9 to 12 at their headquarters at 4156 Southbank Road in Oxnard. You will need to show proof of residence in Ventura County but not proof of income. Their drive-through distribution is contactless.