[BAY FEATURE]Bay Area Drought Watch

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Coverage of California's looming water problem

Bay Area Food Banks Brace for Higher Food Costs

By Kris Sanchez
|  Monday, Apr 21, 2014  |  Updated 6:55 PM PDT
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The rising cost of produce due to California's severe drought is now impacting local food banks. Kris Sanchez reports.

The rising cost of produce due to California's severe drought is now impacting local food banks. Kris Sanchez reports.

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The rising cost of produce due to California's severe drought is now impacting local food banks.

Bay Area food banks are bracing for the higher food costs and are hoping for more donations to help needy families.

"When people are talking about a one-cent rise in food item it doesn't seem like much, but when you're talking about millions of pounds you're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars that we might potentially have to make up to keep the same inventory out there," said Michael Altfest of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

The food bank serves one in every six people in Alameda County, which means they will buy nearly 9 million pounds of fresh produce for people who can't afford it or are unable to purchase it in their neighborhoods.

Altfest said as California farmers charge more or plant fewer crops due to the drought, food banks may have to buy more food out of state, which would mean higher transportation costs.

Food bank leaders around the Bay Area are looking to increase fundraising efforts.

"Giving people less is not an option for us or any food bank," Altfest said.

Barbara Gonzalez and her husband use Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose to help with groceries.

"It's going to hurt me a lot," she said of any drop in food bank services. "It's going to hurt the pocket, but we'll do what we have to do to keep surviving."

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