As families dependent on agriculture work face difficult economic times due to the drought, two groups are partnering to make sure few go hungry.
The Salvation Army’s Los Banos Corps and the Merced County Food Bank are participating in the Drought Food Assistance Program. The two groups will give away 1,000 food boxes beginning at 8 a.m. July 23 at The Salvation Army, 1231 Fourth St.
“It’s for individuals affected by the drought, either underemployed or unemployed,” said Salvation Army Lt. Felicia Grant.
She said the food boxes will feed a family of four for four days and are given on a first-come, first-served basis.
California is in its third dry year, and this past winter was one of the driest on record.
In April, the Merced County Food Bank received two $10,000 grants, one from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and one from American AgCredit. The food bank also received a $5,000 grant from Yosemite Farm Credit.
Grant said The Salvation Army, which feeds 250 people a month, was happy that the food bank has been able to restock its inventory.
“Summer definitely is a time when the food bank’s been running low, so when they don’t have food, we don’t have food,” Grant said.
The Los Banos Salvation Army serves western Merced County. Grant said many families in need leave the area in the summer or choose not to wander out in the heat to seek assistance regularly. Nevertheless, Grant said, The Salvation Army has noticed an increased need this year.
The Merced County Food Bank offered food boxes through an emergency food program last year but did not come to Los Banos.
Grant said she is happy the city is a host site for this year’s food distribution.
“We’re excited about it,” Grant said. “We are very happy the families here can get some help. We’re hoping everyone takes advantage of this resource.”