They are a vital resource — in 2016, Bakersfield was ranked as the metropolitan area with the single worst Food Hardship Rate in the entire country by the Food Research & Action Center.
CAPK Food Bank does a lot to mitigate hunger — during the pandemic, they distributed 1 million additional pounds of food per month. They are serving approximately 130,000 individuals a month. Like all food banks, CAPK Food Bank was forced to adapt when the pandemic turned everything upside-down.
In order to best serve their community, they have implemented new programs such as: commodity and pantry sites with partners throughout Kern County, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for folks 60 and over, their Food2Door program for folks 65 and over, the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) supplying produce boxes for seniors, partnering with CAFB for our Food Access for Farmworkers Initiative (FAFI), and distributing free produce at farmers markets in Kern County.
CAPK Food Bank joined CAFB’s FAFI program very recently — as of March 2021. In this short time, there have been 18 distribution sites established in Kern County, 8,799 farmworkers served, and 463,752 pounds of food served.
It has been extremely rewarding to ease clients fears this last year with the pandemic. The fear we witnessed the first two months of the pandemic was heart breaking. By the third month people were realizing they were not going to go hungry, and there was help to get through the tough times.
Maureen Andrew, CAPK Food Bank Food Sourcer
CAPK Food Bank has seen some of the emotional toll that the hunger crisis has taken; it’s not unusual for clients to be in tears, or expressing gratitude for helping them in their greatest time of need. A recent phone call from CAPK Food Bank to a Taft resident in her seventies resulted in the client joining CalFresh. She mentioned she was on a very fixed budget and would never have been able to buy the supplemental nutrition on her own. When she was told about the Senior Food Box Program, she began to cry, stating that it was an “answer to her prayer.”
Many older adults, especially those in CAPK Food Bank’s outlying areas, live on a fixed income, and do not have access to many resources. Additionally, many take care of their children, and sometimes, their grandchildren. They should not have to choose each month whether to pay bills or buy food and medication.
We are proud to partner with CAPK Food Bank in helping to serve the residents of Kern County!
CAFB has been an invaluable resource for a variety of food sources, advocacy in the fight to end hunger, networking among a variety of agencies, and assistance in implementing new programs to fight hunger.
Food Banks Provide Comments at Tulare Farm Bill Listening Session, 2/14/23
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Food ACCESS 2022: It’s a Wrap
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