Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving and a Santa Monica resident, recently launched a food drive with Coldwell Banker offices in Los Angeles and Orange County to benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

According to a press release from the nonprofit, the need for food pantry services increased by 73 percent in 2011.

“Factors such as the high unemployment rate and government cutbacks have led to hunger becoming a more critical problem,” wrote Michael Flood, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

McHolm, moved by the growing demand for food assistance, reached out to the real estate company as a corporate partner for the cross-county food drive competition.

“We are so pleased to partner with Coldwell Banker to bring awareness to this critical need taking place right in our back yard and raise as much food and money as we can through our friendly competition,” McHolm said in a press release.

Santa Monica Coldwell Banker offices are competing against each other and against those across the two counties to see which one can collect the most food. They will also be raising funds for the food bank.

Residents have until Aug. 19 to donate all kinds of canned and boxed goods to their local Coldwell Banker office (one at 1608 Montana Ave. and the other at 2444 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 102).