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Jul 08 2014 | 

Author: Christen | 

Blog Category:

Oakland, CA – In the midst of one of the worst droughts in state history, the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) has received a $250,000 grant from Bank of America to support ten food banks in California's most drought-affected communities. 


"CAFB is pleased to be working in partnership with Bank of America to address the urgent and unparalleled need facing California's farming communities today," said Sue Sigler, Executive Director of CAFB. "We are thrilled that Bank of America has stepped in to provide an immediate response." 

Support from Bank of America will help CAFB leverage knowledge and experience gained from the last drought in 2009 to advocate for food assistance in drought-stricken areas. Since Governor Brown declared a drought state of emergency in January, CAFB has been working to ensure that California food banks are able to tap into the assistance offered by federal, state, and local government. By surveying, analyzing, and communicating the needs of its member food banks, CAFB also serves as a primary resource for government agencies, such as the USDA, that are looking for information on the drought's impact on food insecurity. 

A recent poll by CAFB found that 85% of its member food banks expect to see an increase in the demand for food assistance due to drought. Securing enough food to meet this anticipated increase will be a challenge: collectively, food banks estimate that they will be short 32 million pounds of food – the equivalent of nearly 27 million meals. With 410,000 acres expected to go unplanted, an estimated 14,500 farm workers will be out of work. [1] Many of CAFB's member food banks are already struggling to provide food to families impacted by the drought. 

"In four of our largest farming communities, we've gone from providing just a few days' worth of food for 5,800 people to nearly a month's worth of food for 20,000 people," said Andy Souza, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of Fresno. 

Bank of America's response brings welcome support to food banks at this critical time of dramatically rising unemployment in farming communities, which is expected to be nearly two times higher than during the drought of 2009. CAFB will distribute Bank of America funds to ten food banks for the purchase of food in areas that have been hardest hit by the drought. Recipient food banks include the Fresno Community Food Bank, Food Link for Tulare County, Merced County Food Bank, Madera County Food Bank, Kings Community Action Organization, Community Action Partnership of Kern County, Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo, Food Bank of Santa Barbara, Community Food Bank of San Benito County, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin & Stanislaus Counties. 

"We're using our reach and resources to help address what could be an unprecedented challenge," said Janet Lamkin, Bank of America California state president. "From philanthropy to engaging our network of employee volunteers, we're leveraging our platform to help our partners in their time of need." 

To learn more about how California food banks are responding to the drought, please contact Sue Sigler, Executive Director at California Association of Food Banks, at sue@cafoodbanks.org

More information about CAFB: 
The mission of California Association of Food Banks is to build a well-nourished California. To accomplish this mission, its membership of 42 food banks focuses on increasing the visibility of hunger and its solutions, assisting Californians in accessing food assistance and nutrition programs, distributing fresh produce through the Farm to Family program, and influencing public policy at the state and federal level. 

Find out more at cafoodbanks.org

More information about Bank of America: 
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 50 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,100 retail banking offices and approximately 16,300 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 14 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Find out more about Bank of America's response to the drought here.

Photo credit: a box of food packed by California Emergency Foodlink for drought relief distributions conducted by Yolo Food Bank.

 


"Preliminary 2014 Drought Economic Impact Estimates in Central Valley Agriculture," UC Davis

 

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