BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The pandemic has caused a lot of hardship for many families and with the new stay-at-home order and the holidays coming up, many food banks are feeling the pressure to try and help out as many as they can. 23ABC's Bayne Froney explains that while local food banks are prepared, they still need the community's help.
Community Action Partnership of Kern provided over 20 million pounds of food for families in need last year. This year they have provided four million more pounds of food due to the number of people needing their help due to the pandemic.
"We have seen a huge increase in the amount of need for food," said James Burger, outreach and advocacy coordinator CAPK.
The organization said that in 2019, they received about 33,000 calls regarding food assistance. In 2020, that number has more than doubled to over 69,000 calls. A 106 percent increase.
"We are seeing families that normally would not need those kinds of services. They are needing those services," said Carlos Baldovinos, executive director, The Mission at Kern County. "You've got a lot of people that are unemployed, underemployed, you have hours that have been cut."
The Mission also provides meals to the community every day and they have seen a steady amount of people coming in for food.
"Especially during dinner time. We are seeing more families come for meals," said Baldovinos.
Now with the new stay-at-home order, organizations are getting prepared for more families needing their assistance. But it is much harder this year.
"We usually have food drives in-person that have people driving up with the whole back of their car with holiday meals," said Burger. "We are lacking those types of celebratory foods."
But there are ways that you can help. Both CAPK and The Mission at Kern County are accepting donations as well as volunteers so that no one goes hungry this holiday season.
"If I look at the forecast right now, it is partly cloudy. There are a lot of unknowns a lot of variables. We have unemployment, but this for sure I can tell the community, we need their support, we need their help," said Baldovinos.
For those who are in need of food assistance you can call 2-1-1 for help or if you want to volunteer or donate: