In the spirit of the holidays, the Wells Fargo Foundation has presented a $50,000 donation to the Westside Food Bank in Santa Monica.

The funds will provide food for 200,000 meals for local families at a time when the local need for emergency food is at an all-time high, according to the food bank.

“This generous gift from the Wells Fargo Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time. Because of the economic crisis, 42 percent more people are asking for emergency food at our member food pantries,” said Bruce Rankin, Westside Food Bank’s executive director. “We are deeply grateful to the Wells Fargo Foundation for its generosity and service to the community.”

David DiCristofaro, Wells Fargo South Coast Community Bank regional president, presented the donation at Westside Food Bank’s 19th annual Hunger Walk on November 8th in Santa Monica. Food bank staff said the funds were disbursed during the week of Christmas, just in time to ensure that local families had food during the holiday season.

Nearly half of Westside Food Bank’s food goes to local children.

“Giving children in our community good nutrition now will help them grow and develop into the leaders we need in the future,” said Rankin.

Since 1981, Westside Food Bank has provided food to 65 social service agencies on the Westside of Los Angeles County with an annual distribution of about four million pounds of food.