Food bank says one in four Alameda County residents need help getting groceries

People having trouble making ends meet pulled into an East Oakland parking lot for groceries courtesy of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
Even with the pandemic entering its third year, new people keep coming, including those who never needed this kind of help before.

"My mom, she's the only one who works right now. My mom and I full-time take care of my dad who recently got sick," said Angelica Merlini of San Leandro.

Did she ever think she would be in this position where you would need this?

"No, not really. We always felt secure in everything especially when my dad was working."

The food bank says before the pandemic about one in five Alameda County residents needed help with groceries.

During the pandemic, it has grown to one in four.

"We are still gaining new clients who have never needed food assistance at all. With the high cost of living in the Bay Area, it is something we are going to continue to see," said Regi Young, executive director of the food bank.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf visited the food distribution operation at Acts Full Gospel Church.

Faced with an already huge homeless population, Schaaf worries that federal funding for emergency hotel rooms for some homeless people will be drying up this summer.

"We are continuing to call on the federal government to recognize that one of the biggest health impacts of this pandemic seems to be over, the economic impact will continue," Schaaf said.