Demand for food from local banks increases in Calif.

Rising costs, $4-plus-per-gallon gas and tighter consumer budgets are creating more demand for aid from local nonprofit groups that provide food to families and seniors.

“We are kind of having a perfect storm of difficulties,” said Carl Hansen, executive director of the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, which serves 156 local agencies.

While operating costs rise, local groups are seeing more and more people in need and are handing out food to many who have never sought help from a charity before.

“For a lot of people, it’s probably a temporary situation,” Hansen said. “Maybe they just lost a home or went bankrupt. But it’s a substantial part of the current increase in demand.”

As of 2006, about 30,000 to 35,000 people in the county sought aid from food agencies per year, Hansen said. Although a current statistic wasn’t available, the local nonprofit leader said he’s certain that number is higher today.

Read the complete story at