Volunteers processing food for distribution. (Photo by California Association of Food Banks)
Volunteers processing food for distribution. (Photo by California Association of Food Banks)

By Valley Ag Voice Staff

Many local growers and distributors are part of a giant effort to help keep the shelves of local and statewide food banks stocked. The California Association of Food Banks has a Farm to Family program where they work directly with California Agricultural leaders to keep food flowing to 41 food banks across California.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the increased unemployment in the State of California, the lines of folks at food banks has been growing every day. “Food banks are reporting double or triple increases in recipients visiting sites,” stated Lauren Lathan Reid with the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB). Lauren also pointed out that new enrollments in the Cal Fresh program have skyrocketed. 

This is where local agriculture companies have stepped in to help. Grimmway Farms is one of the local companies participating. Jeff Huckaby, president of Grimmway Farms, stated: “Grimmway is uniquely positioned to provide produce to families and frontline workers during this challenging time and we’re working with the California Association of Food Banks’ Farm to Family program to ensure fresh food is available to those in need.”

Kirschenman Enterprises also is a key participant in the program. Wade Kirschenman is an enthusiastic supporter: “We think it’s a good idea to give back to the local community and the food banks that support the community. We have been farming since the ‘30s and we like to help out where we can.”

The following Kern County companies are participating in the Farm to Family program:

  • Billingsley Produce Sales, Inc.
  • CA Potato Sales, Inc.
  • Grimmway Farms
  • Kirschenman Enterprises, Inc.
  • M. Caratan, Inc. dba Columbine Vineyards
  • Mazzei-Franconi Co., LLC
  • TD Produce Sales
  • Vanguard Direct, LLC
  • Varsity Produce Sales, Inc.
  • Western Veg Produce
  • Wonderful Citrus Cooperative

Huckaby spoke encouragingly stating, “We’re all working toward a common goal to keep our communities safe, and we’re committed to seeing this through together.”

Our community can have a sense of security knowing that many neighbors and friends are ready and willing to help. Reid added, “We are very grateful for the donations. This longstanding program is a great avenue for contributions. We encourage more participants to reach out and donate.” To participate in the Farm to Family program please email SteveLinkhart@CAFoodBanks.org.

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