130,000 households need help every month from Central California Food Bank during COVID-19 pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Twenty-five percent of the people served by the Central California Food Bank are first-time clients who suddenly needed help during the pandemic.

The need for emergency assistance hasn't let up, even as some people have returned to work.

One of the newest ways it's serving needy families is a program called Groceries2Go.

It's designed for those not served by agencies near their homes. Families register online to pick up a box of food.

"They come, they call once when they get to our parking lot. We come out. It's touchless into their trunk and so we're serving 2,000 families here every single week," says Kym Dildine, the food bank's co-CEO.

Prior to the pandemic, the food bank was serving 70,000 households a month.

That number has jumped to 130,000 households a month with so many families dealing with the loss of jobs.

Those households include over 280,000 people.

Local farmers dealing with reduced food service orders have been donating more produce.

"Right now there's a lot of leafy greens, potatoes, carrots, apples. We are also receiving some of the farm-to-table produce that USDA made available."

Volunteers who help box up and moved out the food must remain six feet apart, so that reduces the number of people inside the warehouse. But helpers are always needed.

"We accept up to 30 volunteers at any given time. Now they're just more spread out throughout the week, Multiple shifts," says Dildine.

The food bank also offers delivery assistance for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
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