At a local food drive last week, Carson worried that some needy families might go hungry. “I get joy out of what I do and seeing people’s faces when we can provide them with much-needed food,” Carson said. “So it’s kind of a down moment for me this year. I’m just going to pray that I can continue, because I know for so many people, something is better than nothing.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LOS ANGELES – Many Southern California food pantries are struggling to feed the hungry this holiday season after donations were diverted to hurricane victims along the Gulf Coast. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is rationing meat, cereal and other items as it copes with a 12 percent decline in food supplies over the last year. In Orange County, the Second Harvest Food Bank has half a million fewer pounds of food compared to last year. And supplies have dropped by 34 percent at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and this is the worst I’ve seen it,” said Margaret Carson, community service director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church food pantry in South Los Angeles. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Agencies have gotten fewer donations in recent years as manufacturers and grocery stores have become more efficient, lowering surpluses of damaged fruits and vegetables as well as items near their expiration date. With aid being redirected to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the decline has worsened. About 80,000 pounds of canned tuna and beef, for example, were routed from the Community Action Partnership of Orange County food bank to the Gulf Coast by the Agriculture Department, said Mark Lowry, the group’s director. The Agriculture Department diverted seven truckloads of black-eyed peas, beans and applesauce meant for California food banks, said agency spokeswoman Jean Daniel. The items have been replaced since then and sent to the state for distribution. The department also is working with other states where commodities were channeled to help bolster supplies, Daniel said.