Fresno ranks third on list of cities with the highest food hardship rate

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It comes as the Central California Food Bank is expanding to feed the need.

Fresno rated extremely high on another national list. This one was unfortunate but it was not surprising.

The ranking dealt with the number of households struggling with hunger and it came at a time the food bank was expanding.

A new name, a new beginning inside the old Valleywide Beverage facility. We got our first look inside the Central California Food Bank, formerly known as the Community Food Bank.

Food Bank Executive Director Andy Souza said this facility is three times bigger and will help them better serve households struggling with hunger.

Souza explained, "We were in a facility that we really had out-grown. We were having to turn away donations. We've had to turn away volunteers."

Increased space to keep food cool will be a major benefit. In the past, some fruit and vegetable donations had to be turned away because of a lack of refrigerated space.

Souza said, "When you deal with perishable produce in the summertime, the more you handle it the more it gets banged up and damaged. "

A new survey by the Food Research and Action Center showed Fresno ranked third on a list of cities with the highest food hardship rate. Fresno ranked just behind Bakersfield and Youngstown, Ohio but ahead of Jackson, Mississippi.

The food bank serves both Fresno and Bakersfield. Souza added, "And you go what's in between them and you get into the rural parts of Fresno County, the rural parts of Tulare County, Delano and some of those communities, that's where you really see those expand even more."

The Economic Opportunities Commission estimated one in three kids in Fresno county face extreme hunger during the school break which makes free summer lunch programs essential.

Food bank trucks will make their first deliveries from the new facility on Monday.

The food bank is sponsored by the Wonderful Company which grows citrus and almonds in the valley and produces pomegranate juice.
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