(Sacramento) - The Assembly Budget Committee approved $17.5 million for CalFood, a hunger prevention proposal being advanced by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) and the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB).
The proposal will fund on-going support for emergency food programs administered by 41 food banks and the 6,000 local agencies they work with all across California. According to CAFB, the $17.5 million approved by the committee will allow hunger prevention organizations to deliver nearly 87.5 million meals a year.
The CalFood program is extremely important for the Central Valley and Fresno. Fresno is the 5th hungriest city in America, despite sitting amidst the San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural bounty. The Community Food Bank of Fresno provides food to more than 200 agencies in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern and Tulare Counties and serves over 280,000 people each month.
“California and the Central Valley continue to suffer from a hunger crisis with nearly 1 in 8 residents, including 1 in 4 children needing emergency food assistance,” said Arambula. “Our hunger crisis demands a robust response. The $17.5 million approved by the committee is a big step in fighting hunger.”
The Community Food Bank and its partners will receive nearly $500,000, if the $17.5 million is approved in the final budget in June.
The CalFood proposal is an extremely cost effective program for a number of important reasons:
- The Community Food Bank can leverage an incredible 7 meals for every dollar invested into the program, allowing it to provide approximately 3.5 million meals full of fresh produce, eggs, meat and dairy.
- Funds must be used for foods grown in California, benefiting the Valley’s agricultural sector.
- The program reaches all 58 counties, enabling each county to purchase foods according to its needs.
Also supporting the proposal are the California Farm Bureau Federation and the California League of Food Processors.
The item will be taken up in the Joint Budget Conference Committee next week.
Below are links to audio of Assemblymember Arambula:
Assemblymember Arambula says the funding will feed the hungry in Fresno. (:33)
Assemblymember Arambula says the funding will also help local farmers. (:10)
Assemblymember Arambula says the funding will help the local agricultural economy while feeding the hungry in the Fresno community. (:15)