Frequently Asked Questions

About Hunger

There are many reasons that people find themselves at risk of being hungry. In Monterey County, the cost of living is high, including housing, utility and transportation, leaving little room in household budgets for food. The working poor, those with low-paying jobs in the agriculture and hospitality industries, have been hit particularly hard.

In the past ten years, our service to the community has increased 40% and this great need shows no sign of abating. We now serve 100,000 different residents each year-over one-fifth of our county’s population. Each week we serve approximately 12,172 people. Half of those we serve are children. Our distributions take place in all areas of the county and our clients come from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life. Hunger is particularly acute in our senior, farmworker, and child populations.

We serve 90,000 Monterey County households and distribute 6 million pounds of food each year.

According to the latest Federal Poverty Guidelines , a family of 3 earning at $20,160 or below annually would be considered to be in poverty. This is approximately $1,680 per month.

We collect, store, and distribute food through our two countywide direct distribution programs, the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) and the Family Market, as well as through Agency Clearinghouse, our network of over 140 local non-profit agencies who rely on the Food Bank as their primary food resource. Their emergency pantries serve children, seniors, homeless persons, veterans, persons with disabilities, and other low/no-income residents in our community.
In addition, we provide information about government assistance programs such as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program). Our distribution sites are also a popular venue for representatives from human service groups to conduct outreach and connect our clients with other assistance they may be eligible for.

No. Due to safety concerns as well as an increase in the amount of deliveries and Agency pickups taking place during the day, we felt it prudent to discontinue distributions from our warehouse. Instead, we have elected to carry out food distributions in locations that are more convenient, safer, and easily accessible to our clients. If you or someone you know needs emergency food assistance, call us on weekdays at 831-758-1523 from 7:30 AM-4:30 PM. For 24 hour assistance with all Monterey County social service referrals, including emergency food pantries, call 211

Food is sourced from manufacturers, retailers, distributors, grocers, growers, processors, the food industry, USDA, Feeding America and from community food drives, such as the holiday food drive and the postal food drive.

The Food Bank does not charge for food nor do our member agencies charge for food. Member agencies do pay a shared maintenance charge of 19¢ per pound that helps offset the cost of handling and delivery. Shared maintenance fees, paid in accordance with IRS rule 170(c)3, help defray warehousing costs. There is no shared maintenance charge for fresh foods, such as produce and bread. Feeding America requires us to charge the fee.

Family Market Program provides exclusively fresh produce and clients may choose from an array of available offerings, some locally grown and take what they need. As those who are in most need of the health benefits of these food items are the ones who can least afford them, this innovative program is designed to not only assuage hunger but to promote wellness and disease prevention. This program operates from April to October at ten countywide sites.

Emergency Food Assistance Program (E.F.A.P.) is the Food Bank’s largest direct distribution program. It takes place monthly at twenty-six sites carefully selected and conveniently located sites throughout the county where volunteers distribute bags containing essential staple foods. In the past two years, we have been expanding this program through our Agency Clearinghouse partners in order to further our reach into the highest need areas and to help these nonprofits provide for their clients in need.

Agency Clearinghouse is a partnership with over 140 Monterey County non-profit agencies including emergency pantries, youth organizations, senior groups, and shelters that obtain food through the Food Bank to distribute to their clients in need when they come in for help with other critical human needs. 87% of them rely upon the Food Bank as their sole source of food. We also assist them with building capacity of their emergency pantries so they can store perishables, increase hours of operation, and accommodate more food.

Our other programs include our Senior Produce Market, Youth Family Market, Kids N.O.W. (“Nutrition On Weekends), Breast Cancer Patient Food Assistance Program, and Farmworkers Mobile Produce Pantry.

The Food Bank partners with various human service agencies throughout the county who provide food to our shared demographic of low/no-income Monterey County residents via emergency food pantries or congregate meal sites that serve hot meals to those in need. As we share a mutual goal of helping our most vulnerable residents, our aim is to increase the amounts and varieties of food available to individuals and families in need. Our member agencies operate their own emergency food pantries at hours convenient to the communities they serve and for residents who live in remote areas or who cannot travel, these pantries are often their sole source of emergency supplemental food. The Food Bank ensures that our agencies are able to access sufficient quantities of various nutritious food staples to provide to clients in need when they come to them for help meeting other crucial human needs. We work hard to source a variety of foods, especially fresh produce, to make available to them. These nonprofit agencies serve our most vulnerable residents in all parts of the county and are a crucial means by which we increase outreach to underserved areas and high-need populations such as seniors, children, and farmworkers. Our agency partners have made it possible for us to make more food available and accessible to all residents who are in need of it.

Our warehouse is inspected by Feeding America and its major national corporate donors. We adhere to the highest standards and best practices in food handling and storage procedures. We have an AIB certification, which is the highest food safety classification. All Food Bank staff and Agency Clearinghouse member agencies have completed the Serv Safe food safety training and all workers at our member agencies are trained and monitored by Food Bank staff.

About Helping

Ninety-five cents of every dollar donated goes directly toward feeding those who suffer from hunger.

For every dollar donated to the Food Bank for Monterey County we are able to distribute five dollars worth of food to hungry people.

Yes. The Food Bank for Monterey County is a nonprofit 501©(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible.

We receive support from many different sources including donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, as well as the United Way

About Our Organization

The Food Bank for Monterey County is the largest provider of emergency supplemental food in Monterey County. Our mission is “to lead community efforts in the awareness and elimination of hunger in Monterey County.” The food bank solicits, collects, stores and redistributes food to individuals as well as non profit agencies that serve the aged, ill and needy.

The Food Bank for Monterey County is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks and the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States.

The main office and warehouse is located at 353 West Rossi Street, Salinas, CA 93907.

The Food Bank operates a 50,000 sq.ft. warehouse at 353 West Rossi Street in Salinas where food is collected, stored and prepared for distribution. The warehouse is equipped with two walk-in coolers and a large freezer. We welcome community members for tours with prior arrangement.

Distribution of food is countywide.

The Food Bank has 16 full-time and two part-time staff members.

On average, more than 500 volunteers help sort, pack, deliver and distribute food monthly.

A voluntary board of directors, made up of representatives from throughout the county, meets monthly to make policy decisions and oversee Food Bank operations.

By giving to the Food Bank for Monterey County, you are helping the area’s most disadvantaged children, families and seniors with a basic human need – food.

In a nation as rich as ours, it is inconceivable that anyone should go hungry. In what is sometimes referred to as “the Salad Bowl of the World,” 20,000 children under age 18 live in poverty.

The working poor are the backbone of many local businesses and significantly contribute to Monterey County’s productivity and prosperity. They live in households where typically at least one adult works, but struggles to pay for rent, utilities, health care and food. Many of these Americans go home after a long, hard day of work and often find themselves unable to meet this most basic need for their families. Your donation will support our efforts to alleviate hunger in Monterey County only.

Donate food

Peanut butter, beans, rice, canned fruit and vegetables are items that we especially need, though any food item is appreciated. Visit our Virtual Food Drive, or organize a food drive with your club, school, or workplace. Companies can donate excess, distressed or unsalable food products to the Food Bank. Product integrity is assured through strict standards of food safety, product handling and inventory control.

Donate money

For every $1 donation, the Food Bank is able to distribute $5 worth of food.

  • Annual Giving – Gifts of any amount are always welcome.
  • Monthly Giving – Partners Ending Hunger is our monthly giving program which allows you to commit to a regular contribution that is paid automatically by checking account, credit card or online bill pay.
  • Bequests – Our Legacy Partners are individuals who have made a commitment to the Food Bank in their will. Please contact us if you need additional information on naming the Food Bank for Monterey County in your estate plans.

Volunteer. The Food Bank has a number of different volunteer opportunities, from packing food in the warehouse, distributing to sites, and assisting with varied office tasks, including bulk mailings and data entry. Please call us at 831-758-1523.

Contact the Food Bank for Monterey County:

The Food Bank for Monterey County
353 West Rossi Street, Salinas, CA 93907
Phone (831) 758-1523 • Fax (831) 758-5925