FRESNO, California (KGPE/KSEE) — The Central California Food Bank’s Workforce Development Program is a training program that officials say is helping people transitioning from homelessness or in recovery obtain valuable job skills to help them find work. 

“Of the roughly 14 individuals that we’ve had come through our program and partnership with the Fresno Mission, ten of them have found full-time employment, so that’s really exciting,” said Natalie Caples, Co-CEO, Central California Food Bank.

The program started in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and has helped the food bank go above and beyond their expectations.

“Prior to COVID, our organization was distributing roughly 40 million pounds of food and when we closed this last fiscal year in June of 2021, we were actually able to rise, meet the need and we distributed roughly 54 million pounds of food,” Caples says. “That wouldn’t have happened without programs like this in place.”

The program serves a dual purpose, officials say — it assists those needing a helping hand while easing hunger in the community at the same time.

“It gives individuals an opportunity to give back, participate in helping us alleviate hunger.  Part of Hunger Action Month is raising awareness on local hunger issues and efforts in Central California and they’re helping us accomplish that.”

Officials from The Central California Food Bank say they are in need of cash donations. You can donate on the Central California Food Bank website.