NBC Bay Area, Safeway Kick Off Seventh Annual ‘Feed the Need'

It's that day again!

NBC Bay Area has partnered with Safeway to host "Feed the Need," a one-day food drive on Saturday. This year’s food drive includes the collaboration of seven local food banks that serve more than 840,000 local residents each month.

The "Feed the Need" food drive will take place at 159 Safeway locations across the Bay Area through December 27. 

This is the seventh consecutive year that NBC Bay Area has partnered with Safeway to host the one-day event to help raise awareness about hunger issues in the Bay Area and help local families.

Volunteers flocked to Safeway stores on Saturday and reached out to shoppers in the hope that they would reach out to help those who might otherwise go hungry.

"It's important for us because we just love getting out there in the community," said Sabrina Martire of the Junior League of San Jose.

For Wanda Stiles with the Kiwanis Club, "Feed the Need" hits home.

"I lost my job before and I know what it's like to be there," she said. "I want to give back. I want to make it so it's not so hard on other people and their families to get food."

Crystal Eckford with the Second Harvest Food Bank underscored the need for such efforts, especially in the Bay Area.

"People are having to make the choice of whether to pay rent or pay for food," she said. "So a lot of people are coming to Second Harvest just to get some food to help them [get] by in Silicon Valley where the cost of living is so high."

"The skyrocketing local cost of living is causing more people than ever before to turn to Bay Area food banks," she said, urging people to "donate to make a difference in the lives of people where you live."

Giving back is easy.

People can purchase a $10 bag of food items that will be donated to the local food banks. At each store, shoppers can remove a flyer from the tear pads located in the display area and bring the flyer to a register to purchase the bag of donation food items. Each bag of food will contain pasta and sauce, canned vegetables, soup, and important protein items like peanut butter and canned chicken breast. Once collected, the bags of food will be delivered to food banks for distribution to needy families. 

By the end of the day Saturday, just under 19,000 bags of food were purchased.

"Every year we see the need gets higher and higher and these items help provide food to those families to help make their holidays a little bit brighter," said Wendy Gutshell with Safeway.

Shoppers like Neel Kannan and his family said they were only too happy to make a difference.

"I think it's really important to do something for the people, right?" Kannan said. "It's the time of the year when unfortunate ones ... we need to help them out. I just wanted to do something nice."

As of Saturday, Second Harvest Food Bank says it really needs turkeys in time for Thanksgiving. 

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