Volunteers at OC emergency food distribution event say need among residents is growing

Those struggling showed up to yet another drive-thru emergency food assistance distribution program in Santa Ana on Saturday.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- With thousands of people in Southern California left without an income during the coronavirus pandemic, many of them are turning to food drives and assistance programs.

Those struggling showed up to yet another drive-thru emergency food assistance distribution program in Santa Ana on Saturday.

Volunteers like Gabriela Sanchez have seen the need for food staples grow consistently over the past couple of weeks.

Three weeks ago, the venue for the program was a local high school, then a college parking lot. On Saturday, it was held at a bigger venue, the MainPlace Mall. Sanchez got emotional when talking about what these events mean for the community and the volunteers.

"It's very touching to see all the people who need the help. They don't have work. This is getting worse for the families that don't have an income but we are very thankful that we have a lot of people getting together to bring food for the people," she said.

It was the fifth Saturday that the Power of One Foundation hosted the emergency event. The foundation said it normally feeds several hundred households per month, but Saturday's event was expected to draw 10,000 families.

Even some of the longtime volunteers for the food drives have been personally impact by the pandemic. Elizabeth Gomez recently lost her job but told her daughter that she still has to help out.

"They're worried, but somebody has to help people. So I'm here, we're all here to help... We all live (in) different places but we come to help," she said.

Organizers say volunteers will continue to provide much-needed relief every Saturday until the need has subsided.
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