Central California Food Bank
Sierra Grant: $2,500 in the 2nd quarter of 2018
Mission: Central California Food Bank is the region’s largest non-profit organization focused solely on ending hunger. Our mission is to fight hunger by gathering and distributing food, engaging in partnerships that advance self-sufficiency, and providing community leadership on issues related to hunger.
All the non-profits we collaborate with have a vision for their community—what’s your vision?
Our vision is that no one in Central California would go to bed hungry; that children would be able to learn and play, adults would be able to focus on work, and seniors would stay healthy and active with the food that we provide.
Describe your organization and/or the work you do in three words.
Gather. Distribute. Feed.
What specific work have you been using donations to accomplish recently?
We recently began a School Pantry program to bring pantry items and fresh produce into local schools to help feed children and their families. In addition, we are expanding our fresh produce programs, Neighborhood Market and Mobile Pantry, into more communities in rural areas of Central California.
Do you have an individual success story to share from your organization’s efforts?
Maria Porras was attending a Neighborhood Market distribution with her daughter. This was her third time coming to this food distribution to receive fresh fruits and vegetables. Maria lives with her three children, her mom, and her sister. She works seasonally picking grapes and blueberries, and says that she makes just enough money that she does not qualify for CalFresh (food stamps). “This food helps me and my family because we don’t have a lot of money to buy fruits and vegetables.” When she receives food at this Neighborhood Market, Maria makes salads, soups, and fresh squash. Whatever is left, she saves in the freezer. Programs like the Neighborhood Market help families like Maria’s get the nutrition they need while still being able to allocate their limited resources to other essential living costs such as rent and utilities.
Educating the public about causes is an important part of non-profit work. Is there something you’d like everyone to know about the people you help or the efforts of your team?
Through our comprehensive hunger-relief programs and services, Central California Food Bank provides food to more than 280,000 people each month, including nearly 100,000 children throughout Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Kern Counties of California.
Our direct services include the Neighborhood Market and Mobile Pantry fresh produce distributions which provide fresh fruits and vegetables to people in low-income and rural neighborhoods; our children’s BackPack program which supplies 1,300 elementary school children a backpack of food every Friday to take home over the weekend; School Pantry program at local elementary and middle schools; CalFresh Outreach program which assists low-income families in applying for SNAP benefits; and USDA Emergency Food Assistance program which distributes shelf-stable goods throughout Fresno County.
Through our partner Pantry Program, we collaborate with and provide food to more than 220 partner food pantries administered by other local nonprofit organizations and schools. Our partner organizations include community centers, K-12 schools and higher education institutions, faith-based organizations, senior centers, and more.
Central California Food Bank aims to serve low-income families with children, seniors, immigrants, veterans, and college students who are under-served and disadvantaged by poverty, food insecurity, and the lack of access to healthy foods. We distribute food in specific neighborhoods designated as low-income census tracts by the U.S. Census Bureau in order to make the greatest impact.
Our service area is home to a few of California’s top agriculture-producing counties, yet it has one of the highest levels of hunger in the United States. According to the Food Research and Action Center (2018), the Fresno region has the third worst food hardship rate in the nation at 22%. This is significantly higher than California’s statewide food hardship rate of 14.1%.
Fresno County suffers from chronic poverty – currently 22.1% – much higher than the national average of 14%. While poverty inherently restricts people from acquiring the food they need, people living in rural communities face the added challenge of limited geographical access to foods that are healthy. Low-income neighborhoods and rural communities often lack full-service grocery stores, and are instead saturated with corner stores and fast-food outlets serving unhealthy foods.
Families living in low-income and rural communities of Central California need access to nutritious foods in their neighborhoods in order to maintain a healthy diet and experience better health outcomes. Our programs and services work to address both the issues of hunger and the lack of access to healthy foods in low-income and rural communities. Our objectives are to reduce food insecurity, increase access to healthy foods, and to advocate for hunger-relief on a regional and national level.
Last year our donors and volunteers helped us provide access to over 33 million meals in Central California. Two-thirds of those meals were distributed by our strong agency network of local nonprofits who also want to see hunger eliminated in our community. By 2025, our goal is to double in capacity to provide access to 66 million meals annually. Together, we can solve hunger.
What should people know if they want to volunteer with Central California Food Bank?
Community members, families, schools, and corporate groups may volunteer in our warehouse Monday through Friday and on the first Saturday of every month. Typical tasks include sorting cans and other food products, relabeling, repackaging, and assembling dry goods into meal boxes. Those interested in volunteering in our warehouse may contact Jobelle Duka, Volunteer Manager, at (559) 237-3663 Ext. 1106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Central California Food Bank, please visit their website and social media:
Robin Allen-Maddox, Communications Specialist; (559) 237-3663 Ext. 1113; email@example.com