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Need Up, Donations Way Down At Local Foodbanks

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A group of young volunteers are doing what they can to put a dent in the mounting hunger in Los Angeles.

“It’s sad that we can’t help everybody, but taking a little responsibility goes a long way,” said Bresee Foundation volunteer Valerie Granados.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is putting out truckloads of canned and fresh food, but in the past three years the need is increased by 73 percent.

In 2008 the L.A. Regional Food Bank served 190,000 people monthly. That number has increased to 330,000.

That is more food, but a small portion compared to the current need to serve 1.7 million people every month in the city.

“It’s never been this bad. We talk to other food banks within Southern California, we talk to a national network of food banks and say, ‘is there something we can compare this to?’ And there’s nothing we can compare this to that’s anything close to what we’re doing now,” said Jeff Dronkers, the Chief Programs and Policy Officer for Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Blame it on the sharp decline in the economy, in food from the department of agriculture and the increase in unemployment.

“Where there were local donors coming to that food pantry and providing financial support; we’re seeing some of those people in those food lines now where things have dramatically changed for them,” Dronkers said.

But thanks to youth groups, like the Bresee Foundation, the food is getting sorted and that does make a difference.

“It feels great knowing that there are some things that are actually helping, like, ‘Yes, I helped that family get what they needed or I helped them get that box of cereal,” said volunteer Luis Alarcon. “It makes you feel really good inside, knowing that you helped someone.”

The food bank is very much in need of donations, but they say it is best if it is monetary or voluntary. For more information on how you can help, visit www.lafoodbank.org.

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