FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley Children's Healthcare and the Central California Food Bank are working together to help stop childhood hunger in the Central Valley.
The hospital is committing $150,000 over the next three years to make healthy food available to kids across the region.
Close to one in four kids in the Central Valley are food insecure, meaning they lack access to enough food for a healthy and active lifestyle.
"We have worked closely with the Central California Food Bank for a number of years so today really just marks a new milestone in our work and our commitment to that no child hungry in our community," said VCH Chief Community Impact Officer Lynne Ashbeck.
A food pantry has already been set up at West Fresno Elementary where students and their parents can receive food to take home each month.
Valley Children's will also provide a monthly food box for qualifying families with medically complex children at home as part of the partnership.
"There is scientific evidence proving that when kids, just as an example, eat breakfast, they are able to sit down and focus and concentrate and that turns into being able to absorb the material better, they get better grades and do better on tests," said Washington Union School District Director of Nutrition Jamie Villalobos.
A portion of the Valley Children's $150,000 commitment will also support the future First Fruits Market at the City Center project at Blackstone and Dakota.
The grocery store, which is set to open in early 2023 will be free to low-income families with children.
"The First Fruits Market, which is unique and special will provide the dignity of choice. It's a market where guest and clients will be able to come and access food that they get to choose for themselves in an environment that will be the nicest 3,300 square feet grocery store in all of Fresno," Fresno Mission CEO Matthew Dildine.