A California Food Bank Distributes 1 Million Pounds of Food Per Week to Meet Historic Demand

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  1. The Alameda County Food Bank in Northern California is operating at a record rate, due to people losing their jobs from the COVID-19 shutdown. Mike Altfest, the food bank’s Director of Community Engagement, said: “Since the start of this pandemic, our food distribution has increased between 50 and 70 percent,” he says. “So, while we were distributing 600 pounds of food a week before this, we’re now well over a million pounds a week.”

The pandemic has pushed food insecurity to levels not see in decades and people are relying on food banks more than ever here in the Bay Area.

Three times a week, hundreds of cars line up as thousands of pounds of food are all given away at the Alameda County Food Bank.

“We’ve never seen anything like this in 35 years in business. Each one of these distribution is serving well over a thousand cars!” said the food bank’s Director Community Engagement Mike Altfest.

It is one of four locations across Alameda County where folks are receiving much needed basic food for free. They are people who may have lost their jobs when their businesses were forced to shut down due to pandemic concerns.

“They start lining up as early as seven in the morning and this will run for six straight hours” said Altfest.

Hundreds of cars slowly snake their way through the parking lot across from the Acura dealership on Interstate 880. Folks from all walks of life driving everything from Toyota’s, BMW’s, to Mercedes, all coming to get food. Folks are grateful for the charity.

“I really appreciate all the help! When we need it, they are there,” said one man in line. “Everybody needs it! It’s like, you know how it is in these COVID times, it’s like, we all need some help.”

Onions, potatoes, vegetables, fresh fruit, bags and boxes loading up for families. Altfest says the amount of food being handed out is amazing.

“Since the start of this pandemic, our food distribution has increased between 50 and 70 percent. So, while we were distributing 600 pounds of food a week before this, we’re now well over a millions pounds a week,” said Altfest.

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