Kenwood Press

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REFB food drive underway

The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) has launched its annual summer hunger drive as the worst economic recession to hit the U.S. in generations continues to force more people and families to turn to food pantries for hunger relief.

“Last year at this time it was gas prices topping $4 a gallon and the high cost of food,” said David Goodman, executive director of the REFB. “This year, it’s the collapse of our economy. With the Sonoma County unemployment rate approaching 10 percent, the lines of people needing help to feed their families are growing.

“The need is immediate and increasing,” he said “Food donations go immediately on our shelves or out to pantries in Sonoma Valley, Petaluma, the West County, Healdsburg, Windsor and here in Santa Rosa.”

Goodman also encouraged donors to consider cash contributions.

“With our 5,000 volunteers who help process our food resources, we have a distribution and collection system that enables us to distribute $5 worth of food for every dollar we spend to provide healthy vegetables and other staples,” he said.

The annual effort to collect food and cash donations began May 1 and runs through July. The goal is to raise $10,000 in cash and 30,000 lbs. of non-perishable food.

The REFB is the largest food bank serving the North Coast of California from Marin County to Oregon. Working with 133 partner agencies in every town in the county, the REFB provides food to 60,000 Sonoma County residents each month. The REFB also is the primary resource for food pantries and other hunger relief agencies in Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

The number of people needing hunger relief began growing dramatically last year as the recession was just beginning. By the end of last fiscal year, food distributions to meet demand had increased 20 percent and now the REFB is on track to increase distributions by as much as 16 percent more by this July 1.

Donations may be made at grocery stores where REFB barrels are located, including G & G Supermarkets and Santa Rosa Grocery Outlet on Fourth St. and College Ave. Barrels will be located at Safeway stores countywide from July 1 through the first week in August. Food may be donated at all Starbuck’s locations, Zone Music in Cotati, the YMCA in Santa Rosa, Sonoma Bank in Oakmont, and at REFB headquarters, 3320 Industrial Drive in Santa Rosa.

Individuals, groups and businesses wanting to host a food drive should call 523-7900, ext. 27, or via email,

Monetary donations can be made through, by sending a check to Redwood Empire Food Bank, 3320 Industrial Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, or by calling 707-523-7900 to donate via Visa or MasterCard.

For information on the food drive, call 523-7900, ext 27.

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