SANTA MARIA, Calif. - As the year draws to a close, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is winding down a major fundraising campaign currently being held to help sustain operations into 2017.
"The goal is $888,000, so we can support our 300 nonprofit agencies and the goal is not quite reached," said Foodbank Development Coordinator Darlene Chavez. "We've managed to to raise $550,000, but we still need $338,000."
Money raised during the drive, which began on Nov. 1, will assist Foodbank in serving 1.25 million meals during the holiday season.
"We have a lot of people in our community that really, really need this service," said Nancy Andersen, a volunteer at Oasis Senior Center in Orcutt.
Anderson noted about 75 families received food at the senior center last Thursday. She said that added up to about 250 people.
"If they didn't have a place to go to get the food, their cupboards would be pretty bare and they wouldn't have anything," Andersen said.
In addition to the Oasis Senior Center, the Foodbank assists 300 hunger-relief nonprofits and programs countywide.
"It's been a little bit more this year because there is a great need," Chavez said. "We have a greater need to provide more food this year. The agencies have said they are providing food to more people this year, so we need to raise more money."
To give the Foodbank a boost in its fundraising effort, an anonymous donor has come forward to announce they will match all donations made through the end of the year up to $100,000.
"We want to take advantage of this full $100,000," said Chavez. "If everybody can just give a little, we can maximize that $100,000."
According to the Foodbank, $1 can be converted into eight nutritious meals.
Money donated will assist thousands within the county. One in four county residents receive assistance from the Foodbank, including 35 percent which are children.
"If the Foodbank doesn't raise critical funds during this last month of the year, we'll have less food and resources to give to those that need it most in our community," said Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin.
Those interested in donating or need more information can visit www.foodbanksbc.org
"Ten dollars, $100, $500, whatever you want to donate," Chavez said. "That just impacts the number of we meals we can provide to the community. One hundred dollars is 800 meals. $1,000 is 8,000 meals, it makes an impact."