PG&E donates $336,000 to Merced County Food Bank

Thursday, March 30, 2023
PG&E donates $336,000 to Merced County Food Bank
A record-storm year has brought on a big need for food in some North Valley communities.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A record-storm year has brought on a big need for food in some North Valley communities.

On Wednesday, the Merced County Food Bank received a donation of $336,000-- empowering the non-profit to feed more of those affected.

Amid a stormy season not seen in decades in the North Valley, the food bank has stepped in to make sure those impacted by weather don't have to worry about food.

"When your house is flooded and you are losing not only maybe your entire house, but aspects of it, your money needs to go to do fixes," said Joseph Hypes with the Merced County Food Bank. "It needs to go to still paying the bills."

PG&E is supporting that mission by handing over a $336,000 check to the Merced County Food Bank.

"Food is expensive right now. Since January, there has been some form of emergency and people are just hungry," said Hypes. "And not only are they hungry but they can't afford food on the shelves because everything is either scarce or it's too expensive."

When severe storm systems hit Planada earlier this year, PG&E workers dedicated 16-hour days to getting electricity and gas back up and running.

"Our co-workers live and work in the hometowns and communities that we serve," said Joshua Sims, PG&E Regional Vice President. "So there is a connection there."

Wednesday PG&E workers were focused on food as they volunteered in the warehouse.

"Break down, organize and really prepare for distribution," said Sims.

With back-to-back storms this year, the food bank had to reach deep into its pockets to meet needs.

"To do that, we had to sort of step outside the food bank and purchase food," said Hypes. "We have about five, six truckloads of food that we just purchase from our own accounts. Because we just wanted to help out as much as we can."

Some were left with nothing after severe storm damage. Many farm laborers were left without work after fields flooded.

"It has hit the low-income communities. The most disadvantaged," said Merced County Supervisor Rodrigo Espinosa. "So the food bank has been instrumental in supporting those distribution sites that we do."

"A lot of people, they are out of their homes. They are out of work. Less access to their kitchen," said Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto. "Less access to the ability to store food as well."

After the storm season passes, Merced County Food Bank says this donation will allow them to continue to fulfill the needs that remain.

"It makes such a difference in the work that we do every single day," said Hypes.

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