Demand for food has increased400%since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

An Unprecedented Surge in Hunger

The coronavirus has swept across America and so has hunger—none more so than here in Monterey County. The Covid-19 pandemic and ‘shelter-in-place’ order that began in early March 2020 has created an immediate and unprecedented need for food, quadrupling our demand. Overnight, places where county residents regularly got food—schools, churches, emergency food pantries, and senior & community centers—were shuttered and tens of thousands of people lost their jobs.

The effects of the COVID have stretched resources to the breaking point and magnified food insecurity to include families who have never needed the Food Bank’s support. This has had a devastating impact on our neighbors with children, seniors, young mothers, and hospitality & agriculture workers being hit the hardest.

From the moment the pandemic hit, the Food Bank of Monterey County mobilized a new, countywide food distribution game plan—complete with stringent social distancing & safety protocols and critical support from our outstanding National Guard unit—to feed the need of our most vulnerable residents.

U.S. Representative, Jimmy Panetta, helping distribute food boxes for families in Salinas, CA, June 2020

We are now serving60,000 familiesevery month.

national guardsman with boxes

Safe Access to Healthy Food Weekly

We are currently providing nutritious food through weekly drive-up distribution sites, which are the safest way to distribute food and protect public health. We created over 50 new countywide sites, including one for seniors only and school sites for students and their families. We have sites in each city and many school locations across Monterey County’s 3700 square-mile area from San Ardo to Pajaro to mitigate crowds and hold multiple distributions each day. Each site serves 600-800 families and we have miles-long lines even before they open. Essential food we provide can include fresh produce, eggs, dairy, and protein when available. It is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis via a drive-thru (and walk-up)

Find Food

Feeding Children & Other Vulnerable Communities

Providing children and families in need with healthy food during the pandemic is one of the most important things we can do to keep people from getting sick especially since the coronavirus disproportionately affects our most at-risk communities.

Monterey County has one of the largest childhood hunger problems in the state and school closures because of COVID-19 have made this situation worse. The Food Bank serves many schools across the county including 10 in Salinas. To ensure that no child goes hungry during the pandemic, we created the Kids N.E.E.D.Program—Nutrition Encouraged Every Day—as our COVID version of Kids N.O.W., Nutrition On the Weekend. We provide children in need with a bag of food to take home each week. This program gives kids a healthy, reliable supply of food containing all the vital nutrients they require for normal growth and development and it brings peace of mind to struggling families.

The pandemic has created grave economic uncertainty and unemployment in Monterey County sits at 14.4% percent (June 2020) compared to 4.8% the same period last year. The State of California predicts that high unemployment rates could remain in our county through 2023. This will continue to drive high demand for food to even more dire levels.

We created over50 new countywide sites,including one for seniors only and school sites for students and their families.

The Challenge Is Ongoing

Restocking our warehouse to meet the demand for food is critically important. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult than ever to keep our inventory supplied as we are competing for food from disrupted sources in the food supply chain, quantities of nearly everything are limited, and food prices are going up dramatically. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that from May 2019 to May 2020, consumer prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 10%. With continued economic uncertainty, more people will find themselves squeezed by food costs. No matter what, we will do whatever it takes to feed the residents of Monterey County for as long as the increased demand for food lasts.

Despite the tough times our community is experiencing, our goal is to move from being one the hungriest counties to one of the healthiest by providing nutritious food, fresh produce, and educating Monterey County residents about the benefits of healthy eating to encourage long-term health and wellness across our community.

We urgently need your financial support to continue serving our neighbors in need.

The Food Bank for Monterey County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which means that we are not a government, religious, political or advocacy organization. We rely solely on donations from generous community donors, foundation grants, and local, state and federal agencies.

100% of your gift stays local to help our most at-risk communities through this emergency. Make your online, tax-deductible donation now: