Boxes of food handed out to families affected by the drought

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Organizers and volunteers distributed boxes of food on Saturday to Kern County families that have been affected by the drought.

In March, Governor Jerry Brown signed $687 million in emergency drought legislation, which included $25 million in food assistance. Kern is among 24 counties across the state that has a higher than average unemployment rate and a large number of agricultural workers.

“It’s very beneficial for people who are having it hard [sic], looking for jobs and not doing well financially,” said Reggie Jackson, who received food at today’s distribution event.

Just over $5 million of the $25 million allotted for food assistance in state drought legislation has been distributed, state officials said in a news release. Food banks in Kern County have received around 31,000 boxes – containing vegetables, fruits, soups and pastas – to distribute. Organizers say the boxes can feed a family of four for five days.

“It’s certainly a good start,” Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez told 23ABC. “It’s a place where we have to come together and recognize there is a real need [for food assistance], particularly right here in Kern County.”

Families and individuals who received food were required to self-certify they live in a household where drought conditions have caused underemployment or unemployment.

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