Food Drive and Health Fair All In One
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of unemployed and low income families gathered outside Fowler's worship center for a first-ever food drive and health fair Saturday morning.
Nearly 1,000 families from around Fresno County showed up in Fowler some even arrived Friday night in the rain.
Many of these people live in communities where unemployment rates are around 18%.
Saturday every hand out counted.
Hungry families got their fill Saturday morning in Fowler. Billie Huff said: "It's important because I'm on a low income and it helps."
Huff just had hernia surgery and money is tight. "I don't get around too good. I have to use my walker all the time but I don't complain. It could be worse," she said.
Huff can count herself lucky. For others in this long line, surgery of any kind is not a option at all.
"There are so many people who don't want to go to the doctor because they don't have money. They are families from low income," said Raquel Cano from Selma where the unemployment rate is almost 21%.
Linda Owens with Fresno Dental Surgery center added: "If parents don't have insurance to go to the dentist they don't tend to bring their kids."
However 900 struggling families had a chance to turn their current misfortunes around at the Fowler Worship Center Church.
The line stretched about 3 football fields long. Some of the people even showed up before midnight to receive these free services.
"Everything is first come first serve and people like to get in and get out," said Marco Salinas from Sanger. That city currently has and unemployment rate of 25%.
Salinas and his mother arrived at 11 Friday evening. "Oh it's hard. Can't find work right now and that's why most people are out here," he said.
Families like the Salinas's and Huffs benefited Saturday from a $150,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente to the Community Food Bank and Fresno County Economic Opportunity Commission.
"I think it eases all of our minds when we get a little help when we need it," Huff said.
Salinas said, "It helps all around."
This was the first of 8 food drives and health fairs of 2010. There will be one every month in different areas of Fresno county between now and August.
fowler, food drive, local, john-thomas kobos
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