Maria Palafos of Selma shows off the only food she has in her pantry ... leftover cans from the last food giveaway for drought victims. She and her husband Helario Hernandez are unemployed farmworkers trying to support four children. Fresno County's bi-monthly food distribution has helped the Selma couple put food on the table for the last several months.
Helario Hernandez said, "It's a great help ... that's how they've been getting their food supply mostly all the time but he says if they take it away it's going to affect them real bad."
Last summer Governor Schwarzenegger activated the California Disaster Assistance Act which provided among other things ... food boxes to needy families. Since then over a quarter of a million people in Fresno County have received supplemental food boxes. But without an extension by the governor ... the surplus food will stop at the end of July.
Rachel Klein of the Community Food Bank said, "We're still looking at serving about 20-thousand people bi-weekly and those individuals rely on our food to supplement because they're still trying to recover from the drought effort here in the valley."
The numbers have declined some as families have moved to find work elsewhere. But for people like Helario Hernandez who can't afford to move ... hopes are the governor extends the drought declaration until he's back on his feet again.
The food distribution begins at nine Thursday morning at the Worship Center on Manning Avenue in Fowler. It's open to all Fresno County residents who have an ID, proof of residence and an explanation of hardship because of the drought.