Food bank grows with down economy

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO/CNN)- A food pantry in Concord, CA, is celebrating its eighth anniversary in spite of the current rough economic times.

When the Monument Crisis Center opened eight years ago, Executive Director Sandra Scherer never imagined it would grow like it has.

"When we started, it was very small, 84 families, and now it's 9,500 families that have registered here and received help," Scherer said.

In many ways, that growth is a sign of the bad economic times, but also an example of the center's commitment to serving all the needs of the local community.

A chef who was recently laid off, Rigo Ramos, says the center has helped him in many ways.

"These people are helping me to give me a job, and also helping me with some food for my family," Ramos said.

The crisis center would not be what it is today without the dedication of its staff and countless volunteers who have worked there through the years.

"I wanted to help people get fed and clothed, whatever the need is, I wanted to help provide it here," said volunteer Tina Mayberry.

"Who else is going to do it? If the people who have can't help the people who have not, we are a very sad, unfortunate world I think," said volunteer Sandy Peter.

Nallely Marquez was one of Monument's very first volunteers in 2003, when she began translating for Spanish-speaking clients.

"I love the center, I love helping here," Marquez said. "The things you learn, the people you meet - just so many great things here."

The center has grown so much it's now looking for a larger facility.

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