West Side's Last Food Drive

FRESNO, Calif. This is the last scheduled food drive for Mendota. What unemployed residents did not cart off … the wind sure tried to.

"We're kind of like the postal service: if the clients come out, we come out too, no matter what," said Dana Wilkie, director of the Central Valley Food Bank.

For three months Wilkie and a small group of volunteers have passed out food regularly to needy families. The state, through an emergency declaration, provided $3.9 million to help these families affected by drought. But now that money has run out.

Wilkie said, "The federal declaration appeal was denied. we're still working on a congressional appropriations, something from the governor. But as far as I know this is it."

Most of these families will have to rely on local food pantries to get their food now. But it will be nowhere near the amount of food they're used to with these drives.

Young kids like Alexis Lopez age 12 and Jose Ortega, 14, have stepped up to help their parents make ends meet.

"I'm helping my mom by doing my room. I'm helping her clean the house," said Lopez.

Ortega said, "My uncle, he owns a restaurant. I was asking him if he had a job I could do."

Money from an Ag appropriations bill should start pouring into the state. Food bank and county officials hope to see some of that money flow their way and help the food drives return.

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