(FRESNO, CA) - Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) is donating $50,000 from his campaign funds to local community and educational organizations that are providing basic needs and services to families and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Assemblymember Arambula also is challenging elected officials and others to contribute to any organizations or agencies that are providing food or shelter, or other essential services, or volunteering to help the elderly or disabled neighbors isolated in their homes.
Nine organizations will or have received contributions from Arambula. The Central California Food Bank is receiving $10,000. The other eight, including the Poverello House and United Way Fresno and Madera Counties, will receive $5,000 each.
“I believe in times like these, we have a moral responsibility to help people and families who are struggling to feed their loved ones or provide basic needs because this pandemic has drastically altered their lives,” Arambula said. “The organizations I'm supporting have stepped up their efforts to make sure no one is left behind.”
Natalie Caples, Chief Operations Officer for the Central California Food Bank that was started in 1992, said the organization provides food to more than 70,000 households each month and has “seen a nearly 50 percent increase at all distributions during this time.” She also said the food bank is conducting an analysis and is recruiting volunteers and new locations in areas of highest need that have no other services, such as rural communities. Caples said they remain committed to providing emergency food to the most vulnerable populations, including children and seniors.
“Thank you for sticking by our side during the biggest crisis we have dealt with in our history as a food bank,” Caples said.
The Fresno State Student Cupboard, which provides food to university students, is receiving a contribution.
Fresno State President Joseph Castro said he was “extremely grateful for this generous act of kindness,” and that he hopes it will inspire other elected officials to support the university’s students in uncertain times. “His contribution will go a long way to support students who rely on the Student Cupboard on a daily basis,” Castro said.
Lindsay Callahan, President and CEO of United Way Fresno and Madera Counties, said the organization and its board of directors sincerely appreciated the donation to their Coronavirus Relief Fund. “All funds collected go directly to families and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in our counties,” she said, “and the needs are great.”
In addition to community and volunteer initiatives, Assemblymember Arambula reminds everyone that this is a time to follow Gov. Newsom's executive order to "stay at home" as well as practicing social distancing and basic hygiene to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We must be vigilant and considerate of one another. We are in this together and must depend on each other,” he said. “We will get through this -- together.”
Here is the complete list of organizations receiving contributions from Assemblymember Arambula's campaign funds:
Central California Food Bank, $10,000, for food distribution efforts
Fresno State Student Cupboard, $5,000, for student food
Centro La Familia, $5,000, for emergency services for families
Fresno City College Ram Pantry, $5,000, for student food
Reedley College Student Pantry, $5,000, for student food
United Way Fresno and Madera Counties, $5,000, for its Coronavirus Relief Fund
Poverello House, $5,000, to support its meals and shelter efforts
Bitwise Industries through Neighborhood Thrift Stores, $5,000, for food pantry and delivery efforts
The First Congregational Church of Fresno (also known as The Big Red Church), $5,000, for its food pantry.