Non-Profit Donations

December 28, 2008 7:21:06 PM PST
Tough economic times and unemployment only add to the large number of people who already go hungry everyday here in the nation's bread basket. It's the noon hour in the West Fresno County town of Mendota, population of 9,600. A crowd is gathered outside the youth center waiting for a holiday box of food. Under a brooding, darkened sky this day would bring disappointment as well.

Times are hard here; water allotments to farming have been cut. A sugar plant closed; leaving a wake of unemployment, a staggering 40 percent. Still they look for work and they stand in line for food. Most of which comes from the community food bank in Central Fresno where the need has doubled this year.

Fresno County's overall unemployment rate is closing in on 12 percent. Eighty percent of the food bank's warehouse is empty. Its fleet of trucks is parked inside, waiting for next year's donations of food and money.

Brian Stewart of Fresno's Community Brethren Church gratefully picked up donated Fresno State turkeys to feed a growing number of hungry neighbors.

Back in Mendota, Linda Bustos is one of the fortunate; she was among those who got a box. Food for her table set for six: her in-laws, two children, herself and her husband.

These days unemployment reaches into every sector of our society and like the volunteers in Mendota everyone, says Dana Willkie, can play some role in helping others in need.

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