Help for Valley families hit hardest by the drought

The first food giveaway for those hit hard by the drought arrived in the Valley.
May 13, 2014 5:12:17 PM PDT
The first food giveaway for those hit hard by the drought arrived in the Valley.

"It's a blessing today," said Firebaugh resident, Everett Ruiz. "God is good."

Ruiz was one of the 300 plus people that showed up for the very first drought distribution in the Valley, which took place in Firebaugh. He says this drought hits hard because so many depend on agriculture jobs to feed their families.

"There is no work," said Ruiz. "When there is no water there is no work. When there is no water. No fruit. No trees. The fruit, the vegetables everything doesn't grow. When they do grow, they give us jobs."

Organizers say anyone who's been impacted by the drought can apply for the emergency food relief program.

"It's a very traumatic situation for a lot of these families," said Fresno Community Food Bank CEO Andy Souza. "If they're willing to be here at 330 this morning for a couple of boxes of food and fresh produce, the need is pretty dire."

Each family received a box of dry goods from the state that included canned products, rice and beans. The food bank also provided fresh produce and bread. And Souza expects the need to grow even more.

Souza explained, "Here in the Westland's Water District where we're serving Firebaugh, Mendota, San Joaquin, Huron, we expect to go from about 5800 people that we serve to about 25,000 people through the course of the summer."

For those receiving the boxes of food, they were thankful to have support.

"It's a humbling experience to be able to come over here and receive this from people giving it for free," said Ruiz. "You don't want to depend on this here, but sometimes you have to."

Drought distributions will take place at five other Valley communities hit hardest by the drought through the end of June.

Wednesday's food distribution will take place in Mendota at the Westside Youth Center from 9 a.m. to noon, or until the food runs out.


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