Fresno food pantries could soon be in trouble

FRESNO, Calif.

Several dozen bags of food are all that's left in the warehouse at Fresno's Catholic Charities. It's not much when you consider as many as 100 families show up for emergency food every day at the warehouse. A major portion of the food given away at Catholic Charities is funded by the federal government. With budget cuts in Washington, those funds could be sliced in half, or cut completely.

Catholic Charities Food Distribution Director Jody Hudson said, "That's one of the most heartbreaking things to think about, 43% of those we serve are children between the ages of zero and 17."

Last year Catholic Charities received $180 thousand from the Federal Emergency Food and Shelter program, half that would be just $90 thousand. The Community Food Bank stands to lose even more. They usually receive $360 thousand in federal funding ... $180 thousand is half of that. Losing half of that translates into 250-thousand lost meals.

Andy Souza, Director of the Community Food Bank said, "Our strategy is a pretty aggressive one ... we're just going to have to find that money somewhere else ... whether we have to seek specific grants to back-fill that, whether we have to get a little more aggressive in our fundraising or our charity outreach, but that's a big dent in our food supply!"

The cuts couldn't come at a worse time, Catholic Charities and the Community Food Bank are both seeing a 30% increase in food need.

Jody Hudson said, "Don't discount what one person can do, every little bit helps. So if a person is sitting there thinking, 'boy, I don't think I have that much to give' ... 50 cents, a dollar ... it all adds up."

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