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Local non-profit combats hunger, supports families

The Central California food bank provides 280,000 people food every month by food distributions, meal recovery programs, and school sites. While 97 percent of the food bank’s expenses go to feeding the people of Fresno, 84 percent of the food provided was donated, and almost half of the food they supply are fruits and vegetables.

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

Fresno Christian students partake in volunteering at the community food bank on serve day.

The California Central food bank has impacted the community in many ways. Their association collected over 5,000 volunteers, combining 40,574 hours of community service. The food bank received $994,968 in contributions for their mission, according to ccfoodbank.org

“We fight hunger by gathering and distributing food,” The Food Bank said. “Engaging in partnership that advance self-sufficiency, and by providing community leadership on issues related to hunger.”

KMPH news reporter, Erik Rosales  grew up with his mother and sister using the help of the food bank.

“We relied on the food bank,” Rosales said. “ I didn’t realize like I do now the important role that the food bank played in our lives. It wasn’t necessarily a hand out, it was a hand up when didn’t have enough money. Even today I go into my pantry and I look at the food, when I don’t see any food in there I start having anxiety over remembering when we didn’t have any food. I then remembered what the food bank did for us when we were in need, and I’m very grateful for that.”

The following tweet features the California Central food bank encouraging the people of Fresno to support their efforts against hunger, and asks for public opinion to spread awareness.

After an unexpected crisis, Annual Campaign Director at Fresno Pacific University Joan Minasian sought help from the food bank. Now she donates to the food bank for the teens who are worse off then she once was.

“It could be one incident that can change a families future and stability,” Minasain said. “For me thats what happened in our lives. When I was an early teen our father left my family, and without contact after. We determined each of us will go out and find a job to contribute and support the family.”

“Still unable to make enough money at the end of the month,” Minasain said. “We then decided to go on food stamps, I remember how the whole process was embarrassing from applying to using them in public. At the food bank it was different the person next to me also wasn’t able to afford food, and I became more comfortable about it with my situation.

Junior Richie Cortez volunteered at the community food bank last year on serve day, he explains what part he played during that time.

“My job at the food bank was to restock the packs of beans and set them up for the people to put in bags. We needed to get the bags finished quickly because they are distributing food today. Serving is important to me because it feels good when you to it. You get a good feeling and you’re not doing it for anything in return. I have volunteered at some other places before and it always feels good to give back to the community and seeing the smiles on all of the faces.”

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

Junior Richie Cortez volunteers at Fresno Community food bank repacking beans

Customer Service Agent Barbie Carpenter, remembers her mother eating bread or leftovers to ensure the rest of her family had enough food. She now supports Central California Food Bank through her work.

“My father came from Spain as an immigrant,” Carpenter said. “My parents came with nothing, we were basically homeless we lived in vans, cars, and buses. We would stand in line for hours at the community food bank just to get one or two bags of food from a church or a school.”

Every year on the FC campus, history and leadership advisor Robert Foshee makes sure to get all of the students involved. He hosts a canned food drive for the students, and the class who brings the most cans gets a special prize.

“I enjoy the food drive a lot,” Foshee said. “Because it supports the Pinedale Community Church and Pastor Amparano. He does an amazing job ministering in the Pinedale community. We are grateful for the chance to partner with him. I also love getting the students involved and it makes us as a school feel better since we’re helping such a great cause such as the community food bank.”

The food bank has distributed more than 38 million pounds of food since 2016. Last year the food bank had nearly 18,000 people give either their time or money to help their cause.

Kyler Garza can be reached via email.

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