Food Banks

Free Food Banks Help Provide Holiday Meals for Struggling Families

Free food banks in Ventura County are helping provide holiday meals for families that are struggling to make ends meet.

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Thanksgiving is just eight days away and some families are already wondering if they can even afford to celebrate this year.

High prices have left many considering free food banks to help out.

Once a week, since the beginning of the pandemic, Food Share of Ventura County has run a distribution point at College Park in Oxnard.

They thought it might stay in place just through the end of the pandemic, but the CEO says they were wrong.

"About 4,000 people will be served, coming through the line today," said Monica White, the president and CEO of Food Share.

Jael Arellano used to pick her son up at Oxnard College next door and wondered about the cars and palettes of food.

Now, she is in that line.

Arellano said her husband is the breadwinner for her and their two kids, but his job as a driver is simply not enough to keep food on the table.

"High prices at the supermarket and gas station make this necessary," Arellano said.

James Ferrante is a retiree that NBC4 met at the front of the line. 

“I'm making it but this certainly helps,” Ferrante said.

Each family gets a box of shelf stable food and a box of fresh produce. Enough to feed a family of two or three through the weekend but then comes the holiday.

Next week this all happens on Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving.

White said that the line will double in size and there will be about 3,000 turkeys distributed with help from the LA Rams.

She also said people aren't really focused so much on a possible recession, or even losing their jobs, for that matter and they know they can't afford what they used to. The holidays are just around the corner,

“I know they're stressed about being able to feed their families. I mean, that struggle is real," White said.

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