Santa Monica Food Banks Prep For the Holiday Season

When preparing for Thanksgiving, Santa Monica food banks gather traditional holiday ingredients to feed those in need. Local food banks including Westside Food Bank and the Santa Monica Salvation Army Food Pantry are doing everything in their power to feed the hungry during this food-filled holiday.

Since 1981, Westside Food Bank, a non-profit organization, has annually distributed 4.5 million pounds of food to over 70 local social service agencies. Westside Food Bank’s Santa Monica location is a warehouse that collects, stores, processes, and distributes a wide range of nutritious foods as well as toiletries. The need remains at a record high level from people suffering from reduced wages, unemployment, and homelessness.

Westside encourages people to get involved by participating in their annual hunger walks, cash donations, volunteering, or through their virtual turkey/food drive on their website. Categories of food that Westside is interested this season are items such as turkeys, stuffing, and instant mashed potatoes. “It’s been really amazing how the community has chipped in, because it used to be we would get nowhere near the amount of funds and amount of items we're getting nowadays. We’ve been able to gather enough resources to really make sure that our agencies are well taken care of for Thanksgiving,” said Westside Director of Operations, Yvonne Leung.

This Thanksgiving, Westside will be serving 2,500 families. Every Wednesday and Friday between 10:30AM-12PM, Volunteers help repackage rice and beans into one pound bags and label them, as well as sort fresh produce. “I started volunteering here at the food bank when I was a senior in college at UCLA. I volunteered once a week and at the same time they had to fill a job vacancy and they asked me if I would like it. I took it and have been here ever since,” Leung said.

The Salvation Army has been serving those in need since 1865. Their Santa Monica location provides food, clothing, and hygiene products for the needy on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9AM-11AM. Throughout the week they give out two loaves of bread and bagged canned goods for the hungry.

Santa Monica resident Elliott Bright said of the Salvation Army, “I come here every day and they do an excellent job. They also give us the tools that we need for the next step forward.” Throughout the year Salvation Army is always in need of canned goods, but this Thanksgiving they are looking for more green beans and canned fruit. On Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, the Salvation Army will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wants to enjoy the holiday food and festivities.

Santa Monica food banks are looking to the community to get involved this holiday season, whether it be through volunteering or by donation.