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Food Pantry sees dramatic surge in families assisted amid rising costs

Monte Carlo Masquerade Ball on Saturday, Oct. 28 to bridge the gap

Julie Reeder

Publisher

As financial hardships continue to grip communities, local food banks find themselves on the frontline, addressing escalating demands. The Fallbrook Food Pantry is no exception. Since July, their assistance numbers have witnessed a staggering upswing.

"Since July, 2023, when we last reported a significant food shortage at the pantry, the total number of individuals assisted has skyrocketed," said Catherine Sousa, board president of the organization. "This past month, we served 6,649 compared to 5,200 individuals in July. That's a 28% increase in just two months, and the numbers are still rising."

The strain on resources is evident. The pantry has taken on the responsibility of supporting an additional 322 households on a weekly basis this year. With the costs of living soaring, many households find themselves grappling with heart-wrenching decisions.”

"It is literally impossible for low-and moderate-income households to keep up with the increasing cost of food, gas, and rent," lamented Sousa. "Many months they are having to choose which is more important: a roof over their head or food on the table."

While the food pantry continues to be a beacon of hope, its shelves are becoming emptier. "As fast as food comes into the pantry, it goes directly out to our clients," says Sousa. However, she affirms their dedication: "We still remain committed to our mission of ending the pain caused by hunger."

To bolster their resources, the food pantry has made an earnest appeal to the community for support in the form of cash and food donations. Sousa emphasizes the role of the community in their efforts, "The only way we can continue this mission is with the support of our dedicated, loyal, and compassionate community."

About 40% of those served are children. With the almost 30% increase in two months, the pantry has seen an 11% increase in veterans and 22% of those served are seniors. The community supports the pantry with 13,000 volunteer hours and 92% of money raised is used directly toward food for clients.

As far as the transparency and the conscientiousness of the organization, Charity Navigator rates Fallbrook Food Pantry with an 88% rating and says, “you can give with confidence.”

Sousa also highlighted an upcoming event, "I am personally encouraging everyone to join us this year at our Annual Fall Gala, the Monte Carlo Masquerade Ball on Saturday, Oct. 28, because when you're hungry, nothing else matters!"

To find out more about this fundraiser to feed the community, go to https://www.fallbrookfoodpantry.org/gala.html

Concluding her message with optimism, Sousa added, "Fallbrook Food Pantry has made it through cycles such as this in the past, and with your help, we will do so again."

 

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