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Nonprofit handles an increasing need for food

Modified: Tuesday, Nov 20th, 2012

This woman, who goes just by the name Rozanne, and her children Chloe and Joey, both 4, wait to pick up their box of food at the annual holiday giveaway at Loaves and Fishes in Watsonville Monday. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

WATSONVILLE — Gloria Rodriguez arrived at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes Monday afternoon, where she received a giant package of food that will allow her to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for herself and her five kids, age 5, 6, 7, 18 and 19.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “I’m going to make a turkey. Without this I couldn’t feed my five kids. I can’t afford nothing.”

The food package was one of 300 the non-profit will give away in the days before Thanksgiving, part of the organization’s holiday programs.

Rodriguez was among dozens of people who lined up for a package of free food that included a bag of fruits and vegetables a box with such staples as rice, beans and cans of food.

Depending on the size of their family, recipients also got either one, two or three chickens or a turkey.

Executive director Margarita Cortez said the food pantry has seen a 19 percent increase in the numbers of people seeking services, which she attributed to the foundering economy, rising unemployment and a housing market that is leaving scores of people without a place to live.

Cortez said there were 10,000 visits during the last fiscal year, amounting to about 7,000 people.

“That’s a record,” she said. “We haven’t seen that many in the 24 years we’ve been in existence.”

For the complete article see the 11-20-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-20-2012 paper.

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