FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – “It is an honor and a privilege to finally say that the food desert of southwest Fresno will be no longer,” said Pastor D.J. Criner on Wednesday.
Pastor Criner was among a group of Fresno’s city leaders at the St. Rest Baptist Church to kick off the Food to Share Hub Project. The drive, in partnership with Fresno Metro Ministry, will repair and improve a 6,000 square foot building on the church campus to be used as a food storage and distribution center.
The project will also add a commercial community kitchen, classroom, and rooftop garden on the same site.
“Because of this project partnership, over one million pounds of nutritious food will be diverted to the families in need in this area, and the families will have the opportunity to take charge of their own health through on-site cooking skills and nutrition education classes that will be hosted here,” said Saharnaz Mirzazad with the California Strategic Growth Council.
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said the average income for a family of four or five in southwest Fresno is $26,000, which is too little to afford basic needs.
City leaders hope the Food to Share Hub Project will bridge the economic divide between the north and south sides of Fresno.
“Too many people are hungry in southwest Fresno and struggling to pay their basic bills, and I have a belief, no child in our city should ever go to bed hungry,” said Dyer.
Initial funding for this building project will come from the city’s Transform Fresno Initiative, Tarlton And Son, Inc., Community Medical Centers, and Calviva Health.