Food drive hopes to bring in post-holiday donations

Monday, January 02, 2012

Community food banks usually see a decrease of donations after the holidays but there's one food drive that is hoping to change that trend.

Boxes of canned-food items donated during the holidays fill up the front entrance of Community Food Bank of Fresno County. But those donations tend to drop significantly after the new year.

"Folks get through the holidays, get through the end of the year and then we get back to the business of our schedules," said Andy Souza with the Community Food Bank. While donations are expected to decrease, the number of people who are hungry has gone up in the past year.

"Our food hardship rate is the highest in the country at 27.2 percent and that number is up, basically about 30,000 people from the year before and we expect it to go up again this year," said Souza.

One way the community is hoping to keep the generous holiday spirit alive is by holding a food drive early in the year.

"There's a greater need and with a greater need we're hoping to raise more money to help meet that demand," said Reggie DeLeon with the Central Valley Citizens Fighting Hunger. The group is hosting a food drive at the Lifestyle Furniture parking lot on Blackstone and Shaw Tuesday from 5am to 7pm. They're hoping for a bigger turnout this year.

"Last year, we raised over $11,000 and 8 tons of food for the Community Food Bank, which was one of their larger food drives. And our goal this year is to hopefully surpass that," said DeLeon.

The furniture store is even slashing their prices for those that bring non-perishable food times.

"If you do need furniture we are also offering 10 percent off if you bring 10 cans in, 15 percent off if you bring 15 cans. If you bring more that's great but 15 percent is the biggest discount we'll give," said Chris Chapa with Lifestyle Furniture.

Organizers hope the discount draws more people to help those in need and fill up the food bank warehouse.

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