From The Pasadena Star News, writer Robert S. Hong visited some of the food banks for his story.
In El Monte, the pantry at Our Saviour Center has seen a daily increase of about 43 percent, according to Dorris Dann, director of volunteers. The center serves 180 to 300 people a day, compared with about 145 people a year ago.
"Some days, the people never seem to stop coming," Dann said. "It's really telling when they open the bag of food before they get out of the parking lot to feed their children."
In Orange County, demand has gone up 30 percent to 35 percent. Even people from more affluent neighborhoods have had to turn to food pantries, said Joe Schoeningh, director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.
"All is not bleak, although it is very difficult to make ends meet at this point," Schoeningh said.
One bright spot is that Americans continue to give, even during tough economic times, and that has helped food pantries struggle through, he said.
Food donations are still needed. Donors and volunteers can visit www.lafoodbank.org to find out how to help, Flood said.
Maria Bermudez has been coming to Our Saviour Center's pantry for five years. She cleans homes and her husband does construction, but work has been scarce, she said. At times, they don't have enough food to get through the week, Bermudez said.
"It is a great help," she said. "When we come here, we get food for a couple of days."