The Westside Food Bank in Santa Monica is encouraging local businesses, congregations and community groups to hold food drives to help alleviate local hunger this holiday season.

Westside Food Bank will deliver and pick up food collection barrels and supply food-drive organizers with a flyer detailing the kinds of non-perishable food items to collect.

Anyone wishing to hold a food drive to benefit Westside Food Bank is asked to contact Milton Gonzalez, warehouse manager, at (310) 828-6016 ext. 11.

The Westside Food Bank supplies food to 65 social service agencies in Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, West Los Angeles, Inglewood and West Hollywood.

The food bank’s food now reaches more than 82,000 people each year, nearly half of whom are children.

“With costs for basic needs such as food, housing, childcare, healthcare and fuel at record highs, more local families than ever before are seeking food assistance,” said Genevieve Riutort, Westside Food Bank director of development. “Food donated from local food drives represents the fastest growing portion of our food distribution, especially as other sources of donated food, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program, are dwindling.

“We hope that local businesses, congregations and community groups will help us bridge the gap to meet the rising local need for food assistance.”

Information, www.westside