FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – With two vendor deaths in the last six months, the Fresno community is taking steps to ramp up safety for local food vendors.
On Wednesday, Miguel Lopez was named as the city’s interim Food Association President. The association will work out of revamped city buildings near Inyo and H streets.
Lopez has worked as a food cart vendor for the past 15 years in Fresno.
But recently with the shootings of vendors across the city, he is worried about coming home safe to his family.
“Yes, we are scared. A majority of our colleagues have gone through some form of robbery and assaults,” said Lopez. “They have even gone to the hospital. I have also been the victim of assaults.”
With the support of city officials, Lopez and dozens of other vendors have formed an association that will come up with a safety plan, work with police, and provides resources like cameras to vendors.
“We want folks to know the city supports them and the city is actually putting their money where their mouth is,” said Chavez.
The association will eventually move into a warehouse near Grizzlies stadium. Chavez said the city will approve $1 million that will go to renovations like adding a city permit section, storage space, and a kitchen where vendors can become certified with the Department of Public Health.
And while there has been hesitancy amount some undocumented workers, Chavez said they shouldn’t be worried.
“We are not concerned with that we are more concerned and have more of a priority with making sure that they are safe,” said Chavez. “And that they are making it home safely to their families. That is priority one.”
An anonymous business has donated $100,000 for the kitchen at the food vendor warehouse.
The association will have its first meeting next week.