NBC Bay Area and Safeway’s “Help Us End Hunger” Holiday Food Drive Nets About 17,000 Bags Donated

Saturday marked the start of NBC Bay Area's and Safeway's big holiday food drive, where anchors, reporters, and volunteers spent the day collecting food donations.

For the last five years, NBC Bay Area has teamed up with Safeway for the "Help Us End Hunger" holiday food drive to raise money and food donations for local food banks, which feed nearly 800,000 people a year.

For those thinking a booming economy eases the need for food this season, food bank workers said that is not the case.

"The cost of living in the Bay Area has skyrocketed so much now that working households...families with two working adults are working full time," said Michael Altfest, who is the communications manager at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. "They may be able to get by in other parts of the country, but they simply cannot get by in the Bay Area."

Last year, the drive led to 134,000 grocery bags being donated. Just on Saturday, close to 17,000 bags were collected--one bag, filled with pasta, sauce, cans of tuna and vegetables is enough to feed a small family for a week.

Those who donated said they wish they could do more to end hunger.

"We’re really fortunate that we’re able to feed our children and have a good Thanksgiving," Morgan Hill resident Debi Rivas said. "So, I wish I could do 10.”

And it's not too late. The pre-filled bags are for sale at Safeway stores through Christmas.

There will be volunteers, of all ages, who will keep the push on.

“I don’t see it as giving up a day," Branham High School student Kelley Sheen said. "I see it as making the most of the holiday season, just really giving back to the community that we live in.”

Some donors were very generous:

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