Ventura County nonprofit distributing food to community at historic levels

Food Share Ventura County says the nonprofit is in need of donations through food, money and volunteers to help keep up with the high demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
OXNARD, Calif. (KABC) -- With such a large number of people out of work, many families are struggling to put food on the table.

Food Share Ventura County is one of several local food banks stepping in to help, distributing food throughout the community.

The need to help Ventura County families put food on their tables is increasing. Hundreds waited in line Monday for the Food Share Ventura County Food Bank's weekly grocery distribution at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Monica White, the CEO of Food Share, says the food bank's budget just to buy food each month is six-times higher than normal.

"In a normal month we normally spend about $50,000 a month in food purchase because so much of our food is donated, but with the increased need with all of these these pop-up distributions and the 50,000 additional people that we're serving on top of the 75,000 that we serve every month - we're spending about $300,000 a month on food," said White.

The nonprofit needs donations of food, money and volunteers. On the volunteer side, the nonprofit is getting help from the National Guard. At a facility in Oxnard, the National Guard helped fill food boxes that are being given to families.

Families told Eyewitness News that they're grateful these boxes and bags of food are helping make ends meet.

"It's going to definitely help. You know right now money is so tight and you can't go anywhere except for maybe the grocery store, but things are so expensive, so it helps," said Georgia Smith, a Ventura County resident.

The need for food distributions in Ventura County, according to Food Share Ventura County, has nearly doubled - from 75,000 people to 125,000 people. Also, 50,000 have applied for unemployment benefits in Ventura County.

"I'm 70 and I got laid off from work, but I'm getting my unemployment, so it's OK," said Janice Chase from Ventura.

Even though, there's a limited access to beaches and parks, stay-at-home orders are still in effect. As more people find themselves out of work - the need to help them out with food will increase in the coming weeks.
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