BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – PepsiCo research has found that rural communities are the most vulnerable to hunger, and many are right here in the Central Valley. According to data from the California Association of Food Banks, approximately 8 million Californians face food insecurity. As of October 2020, here in Kern County, around 25% of residents were food insecure. For example, PepsiCo’s Food for Good program has partnered with the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which is committed to advancing food security by providing meals to people in need in Kern County. Organizations are making this difference by hosting food banks.
“Because of the pandemic, a lot of people have lost their jobs and they are in difficult times, so it is very important for us to help them and to intervene and to bring something and to help them because we know that at least our farm workers are here, they are the backbone and they are the ones who work and bring food to our table. So it’s time for us to step up and do the same for them, ”said Ruth Sanchez.
Ruth Sanchez, Resource Manager for the Dolores Huerta Foundation, explains that partnering with PepsiCo’s Food for Good program is about meeting the needs of the community, providing nutritious meals and other resources to underserved communities.
“The Central Valley stretches 450 miles and provides roughly half of all the vegetables consumed in the United States, but despite all of this incredible work and incredible results, agricultural worker families in this region still face profound challenges. obstacles to food insecurity, ”said Lucie Dufour. .
Lucie Dufour of Food for Good says the program gave the foundation a grant of $ 25,000 allowing the Dolores Huerta Foundation to partner with food banks in Kern, Fresno, Tuare and Antelope Valley counties.
Cecilia Castro / Deputy Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation: (2:40) “Since our partnership with PepsiCo, we have actually hosted 51 food banks this year in 2021 alone. This year we were able to feed almost 13,000 families through our volunteer-run food banks, ”said Cecilia Castro.
Deputy Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Cecilia Castro, said the partnership has had a huge impact on the community.
“Community members are extremely grateful for the food they are given, as a lot of the food we provide is also culturally appropriate food, right? We don’t want to provide food that families won’t use, ”Castro said.
“Thank you to everyone who is helping people, especially distributing food to those in need during these difficult times,” said resident Guillermo Rodriguez.
Sanchez says the foundation will continue to distribute meals.
“Every month, at least twice a month, we have food banks, we also prepare hot meals for homeless people every week,” Sanchez said.
Both organizations plan to have an even greater impact in the future.
“Going forward, we are trying to increase access to nutritious food for 50 million people by 2030. We are particularly focused on increasing access to nutritious food as well as on sustainable agriculture. This partnership with the Dolores Huerta Foundation to help support agricultural workers in the Central Valley is a prime example of that, ”said Dufour.
If you would like to get involved in the Dolores Huerta Foundation’s partnership with Food for Good, you can find more information on Doloreshuerta.org.