Drought Aid Ends

Volunteer Fil Maestas unloads boxes of food Thursday at the FoodLink contribution site on Main Street. The program ended Thursday after being extended three months. About 300 families received boxes on the last day.

Ending of program to affect thousands in Tulare County

After over three years of delivering approximately 9,000 of the state’s disaster relief food boxes to cities within Tulare County each month, Chris Burrows said FoodLink For Tulare County Inc.’s final delivery was Thursday.

The reason?

“The funding that was appropriated for the program has come to an end and no new funds were allocated,” said Burrows, the operations supervisor for FoodLink For Tulare County Inc. “This [September] was the last month of the distributions.”

Burrows said the state was initially scheduled to end the program on June 30 because it “wasn’t sure how far the money was going to stretch.” Nevertheless, Burrows said the state continued the program until funds ran out, leaving FoodLink For Tulare County Inc. and other food banks throughout the San Joaquin Valley such as in Fresno and Madera, delivering food boxes on a month-to-month basis.

Burrows said the ending of the program will affect thousands in Tulare County, including the City of Porterville, which gave out approximately 600 food boxes from 9 a.m. to noon every Thursday right outside the city’s General Tire store.

Each food box, which was free to anyone within the city limits, weighed around 30 pounds, and contained everything from rice, beans, pasta, milk, peanut butter, oats, tomato sauce, canned vegetables and chicken.

In addition to Porterville, Burrows said FoodLink also distributed food boxes to Woodlake, Richgrove, Dinuba, Tulare and Alpaugh, among others.

“We are the pass through for the boxes so we have multiple distributions set up throughout Tulare County,” Burrows said.

Burrows said many county residents took advantage of the free food.

“We distributed approximately 9,000 boxes a month throughout Tulare County so it was very helpful for a lot of families during the drought,” Burrows said.

Although the disaster relief food box program has come to an end, Burrows said there are plenty of other organizations in Tulare County residents can turn to for extra help. Some in Porterville include Saint Anne’s Parish, JC Junction Food Pantry, Helping Hands of Porterville and Porterville Gleaning Seniors.

“People are welcome to check our website or call us here at the office and we will be happy to direct them to the closest food pantry in their area,” Burrows said.

The number for FoodLink For Tulare County Inc. is 651-3663.


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