Second Harvest of Silicon Valley -- one of the largest food banks in the nation -- issued an urgent call for volunteers this week to help distribute food to the now-half a million people receiving food assistance from them.
The number of people reliant of the non-profit organization doubled since the start of the pandemic in March and many of the new cliental are people who never received food assistance before, according to Second Harvest.
"We are now distributing 80 percent more food than we did before and we simply need more help," said Leslie Bacho, CEO for Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. "With such tremendous need right now, we are calling on members of our community to volunteer help us provide this much needed relief to our neighbors in crisis."
In the Bay Area alone, over 150,000 jobs were lost, with an unemployment rate as high as 11 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In response to the economic crisis, Second Harvest and its partners opened 130 new drive-thru locations in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
Because of the increased locations, there is a high demand for staffing. As of right now, many distributions have been operating with only half of the needed work force, according to the non-profit.
"Tell your friends, family, neighbors and your coworkers that the time to step up and help is right now," Bacho said.
Those interested in volunteering can sign up for shifts at Second Harvest's website: https://www.shfb.org/give-help/volunteer/.
Volunteers must be over 14 years old, and those under 18 are required to have a signed electronic permission slip on file for at least 48 hours before volunteering.
Second Harvest asks that volunteers be in good health and adhere to county-mandated safety measures including social distancing and wearing face coverings and gloves. Those in high-risk populations are encouraged to not volunteer.