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Drought Relief: Food Banks Purchase over 3.7 Million Pounds of Food through Bank of America Grant

December 15, 2014

Oakland, CA – Despite the welcome arrival of recent rainfall, California remains in the midst of one of the worst droughts in its history. Many farming communities have experienced a dramatic rise in unemployment, but thanks to the swift response of Bank of America, many families in these affected communities will be able to keep food on their table.

Back in July, CAFB announced it had received $250,000 from Bank of America to support ten food banks in some of California’s most drought-affected communities (see our original post here). Today we’re proud to share that food banks used these funds to purchase 3,761,932 pounds of food – that’s triple our original goal! This incredible bounty is providing the equivalent of 3 million much-needed meals for Californians affected by the drought.

On average, each food bank was able to leverage their allotment to purchase an impressive 7.5 lbs. of food per dollar. Fresh produce was the most commonly purchased item, with food banks adding fresh fruits and vegetables to the drought-relief food boxes they provided at disaster distributions. Over 40 varieties of fresh, nutritious produce were purchased through CAFB’s Farm to Family program or through local vendors. A comment from Sarah Ramirez, Executive Director of FoodLink for Tulare County, reveals how important Bank of America’s support is to preserving this vital flow of food:

“Many of our pantries are located in rural and impoverished areas that have been heavily impacted by the drought. Conditions in these communities are challenging since many of these pantries have limited access to fresh, healthy food. While the drought relief food boxes we are providing have traditionally contained dry and canned items, this funding allowed us to supplement those staple items with an abundance of fresh food items that we would not have been able to provide without the Bank of America funds.”

Bank of America’s generosity has not only given food to families reeling from drought-related unemployment, it has also supported CAFB’s role as an advocate for the Central Valley and other heavily-impacted regions. CAFB is working closely with the California Department of Social Services to streamline the Drought Food Assistance Program (DFAP), ensuring that much-needed food reaches counties efficiently and with minimal burden to both the food banks and the clients they serve.

CAFB wishes to thank Bank of America for identifying and responding to a critical need in California’s communities. We also wish to thank the following food bank grantees for acting swiftly to use the grant funds to distribute food where it is most needed: Fresno Community Food Bank, FoodLink 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, Foodbank of Santa Barbara, Community Food Bank of San Benito County, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin & Stanislaus Counties.


Photo courtesy of Community Action Partnership of Kern. Featured from left to right are Lynn Knudson (Bank of America), Jeremy Tobias (Executive Director, CAPK), Louis Medina (Planning, Research & Development Division, CAPK), and Clint Okerlund (Bank of America).


Read more about this grant’s impact in Kings County (Hanford Sentinel) >>

Read more about this grant’s impact in San Benito County (BenitoLink) >>

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