Higher food prices and the rising cost of gas are hindering operations at one of the South Bay's biggest food banks.
Officials at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which provides food to nearly 250,000 people per month, say that higher prices for staples such as rice, eggs and peanut butter are forcing them to deliver smaller portions to the soup kitchens, pantries and shelters they supply.
"We've had double-digit increase for several core commodities," director of development and marketing Tami Cardenas said. "We used to buy truckloads of tuna, but we can't buy it at all anymore because it's become so unaffordable."
According to Cardenas, the average price of peanut butter has gone up approximately 57 percent, rice is up 25 percent, eggs are up 24 percent and beans are up 17 percent.
The higher costs are hitting the Food Bank at a time when its services are needed the most, Cardenas said.
Since 2007, Second Harvest has seen the number of people it serves each month increase by almost 50 percent.
Second Harvest is asking for the public's help in raising money to feed hungry families in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
Cash donations can be made online at www.shfb.org/donate, or by calling (866) 234-3663.
Cardenas said food donations are also needed to restock Second Harvest's shelves.
People wishing to donate eggs, beans, rice, cereal and peanut butter can do so at 750 Curtner Avenue in San Jose, or at 1051 Bing Street in San Carlos.
—By Bay City News Service