FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — Officials from the Central California Food Bank say it holds nearly a hundred food distributions throughout the Central Valley through its Neighborhood Market program each month.
“This has helped thousands of people. I’ve watched this grow from maybe a hundred people coming to at least 500, you know families that need food. During this time, this pandemic, it’s thrown a lot of people out of having food,” said Charles Donahue, a client with the Central California Food Bank.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the food bank was serving about 250,000 individuals each month.
“We’re now serving over 350,000 people and so that really just goes to show the great need in the community, but also the great efforts that we are making along with our partners to get more food out into the community,” said Maria Ayala, Community Programs Manager, Central California Food Bank.
The Central California Food Bank’s partnership with Feeding America is vital toward ending hunger, officials say.
“Feeding America is really important here in the Central Valley. We’re able to maximize the amount of food that we’re getting into our community which essentially helps us feed more neighbors,” said Ayala.
Jennifer Noble, a new client with the Central California Food Bank who emerged due to the coronavirus pandemic, says she is humbled by the help.
“It got to the end of the month and more family had arrived and I just didn’t have the money,” Noble says. “They’ve just really come through. Every two weeks they come and let us pick up groceries to go and it’s just stretched it far enough so everybody can make it in our household.”