Food Bank for Monterey County’s Chief Financial Officer Cathleen Montero (left) accepts Aera’s donation from Kathy Miller, public affairs coordinator for Monterey County. (Contributed Photo)

SAN ARDO — Even as communities reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for food assistance in Monterey County remains at unprecedented levels.

The county is still one of the hungriest in the state, with more than 60,000 families turning to the Food Bank for Monterey County for assistance each month.

To help, Aera Energy and several of its San Ardo business partners, including Kings Oil Tools, SSI and Key Energy, hosted their annual food drive to benefit the Food Bank for Monterey County.

Because canned food donations could not be collected as it has been done in the past, the team hosted a barbecue lunch, during which oilfield workers made monetary donations to show their support. They collected the equivalent of 17,600 pounds of food, a record year for giving for the employee-led food drive. 

At the start of the pandemic, the Food Bank for Monterey County immediately saw the number of families needing food assistance more than quadruple. It mobilized a countywide food distribution plan, with the help of a local National Guard unit, to provide food for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Weekly drive-up distribution events were held at more than 50 sites. The increase in need was incredibly challenging for the food bank that was already serving a population where one in three children and one in four adults are affected by food scarcity.

“Even as things start to get back to normal in our communities, life hasn’t gotten easier for so many of our families who are struggling to get back on their feet,” said Melissa Kendrick, executive director of the Food Bank for Monterey County. “They live in remote locations and lack reliable transportation, making it even harder for them to buy groceries and put food on the table. It’s been hard for us to keep inventory up at our warehouse because food quantities remain limited, and prices keep increasing. But we’re still committed to continuing to feed our local families as long as they need our help and we couldn’t do it without the help of our community partners like Aera.”

Over the past several years, Aera has donated the equivalent of 63,450 pounds of food to support families served by the Food Bank for Monterey County.

“Aera remains committed to supporting our neighbors and local organizations, especially in their times of need,” said Kathy Miller, Aera public affairs coordinator for Monterey County. “The bottom line is, no child or their family should ever go without such a necessity as food. The food bank feeds so many of our local families. We try to help where we can, and we know every bit counts.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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