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Non-profits prepare for this year’s Thanksgiving food distribution

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MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Non-profit organizations are getting ready as they expect more families to be in need of a meal this year's Thanksgiving.

The Food Bank for Monterey County served 116,000 people just last month and they anticipate for those numbers to continue to rise.

"We have to remember for so many of those in our county, even following the recovery, they are finding themselves in worse circumstances than before. COVID,” said Executive Director Melissa Kendrick.

According to Kendrick inflation is hurting disproportionately those they serve and the donations they receive are down by 65%.

"We're purchasing more food than we've ever purchased before," said Kendrick. "We're spending 50% more on food purchases, everything is more expensive. So what we're seeing in our own personal lives is just magnified, when you're purchasing for 116,000.”

The food bank for Monterey County is having several distribution events this week to address the need. They’re expecting to feed approximately 50,000 people by distributing more than 10,000 meal kits.

One of them is their Community Thanksgiving Drive-Thru on Wednesday, Nov. 24 starting at 10 a.m. People are required to register online to reserve their meal kit.

The Salvation Army Salinas will also have a drive-thru distribution, handing out 600 warm meals to people on Thanksgiving Day, a 25% increase from last year. It will be on a first come first serve basis starting at 11:30 a.m.

Lieutenant Katherine Hernandez with the Salvation Army in Salinas said they’re expecting to have a lot more people this year.

“COVID has a lot to do with it," said Lieutenant Hernandez. "I know a lot of people are just facing a lot of difficulties, just a lot going on. I know it's been a difficult year, or I would say two years for a lot of people. I think that's where the increase of need comes.”

They’ve also seen an increase in demand for food in their weekly drive-thru food distribution, said Lieutenant Hernandez. Last week they had to turn away 20 vehicles, and she said they expect more people this week.

“Just because it's the day right before Thanksgiving and they're probably going to be hoping to get something to put on their tables," said Lieutenant Hernandez. "I'm just praying that we have enough to be able to give those who back.”

These non-profit organizations are working around the clock to make sure everyone in Monterey County has a meal on Thanksgiving.

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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