INDIO, Calif. -- -

Sara Acosta is a single mother in La Quinta, working to put food on the table for her three kids -- ages 17, nine, and two.     

"I was stressing, still stressing," she says, "I was worried, thinking it was going to be hard getting assistance or even the help of food."

In 2012, 8.5 million pounds of food filtered through the FIND Food Bank warehouse on Citrus Avenue in Indio. There, they prepare fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, and canned food. Ultimately serving 80,000 people a month.

46 percent of those people -- children, like Acosta's.

"The nutrition, I was very concerned over," Acosta says. "Just because I started to see my children get sick a lot."

Two of Acosta's children are lactose intolerant, making a regular trip to the grocery store even more expensive.

"I used to struggle to get that one gallon, to try to provide for two kids that needed it," she explains.

Three years ago, Cassandra Teran helped Acosta fill out forms for "CalFresh", the state-wide food stamp program. Now, California gives her $600 or more every month to feed her family.

"The very basic necessity in a household is food," says Teran. "When children go to school, if they haven't been fed or they haven't eaten, they cannot focus on anything else besides when their next meal is going to come, which is lunch."

Acosta says her daughter is doing better in school now that she is eating healthier.

"Now I've seen her performance at school better, she eats good," Acosta noticed.

Teran says financial and food assistance is easily accessible.

"The simplicity of us going out and doing the application is the best part." Teran continues, "They find it so easy, so it's not overwhelming for them."

Acosta says even illegal immigrants can take advantage of the system.

"One of the persons I referraled {sic} was worried because she thought she was gonna get affected, worried they were gonna come pick her up, easier to find out she's illegal -- she'd rather work, she'd rather struggle. I said no, you don't have to."

The FIND Food Bank helps more than 90 other non-profit organizations throughout Riverside County. They donate to soup kitchens, senior centers, and after-school programs.

Teran says, "The need is across the board."

To donate to the FIND Food Bank, visit www.findfoodbank.org/donate. You can also text "FIND" to 20222, and $10 will be will be added to your mobile-phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. ONE dollar = SEVEN meals.

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