In the Bakersfield area, one in four people cannot afford enough food to support a healthy, balanced diet.
Ranking first among regions with the highest need in the country, Kern County residents fight the issue of food insecurity year after year with the support of the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Food Bank.
As the largest food bank in the county, CAPK works to alleviate hunger by serving almost 1.5 million pounds of food to over 103,000 people each month. Local, family-owned grower Grimmway Farms shares similar values with CAPK.
“Our goal is to provide good quality, affordable produce to our customers,” says April Morris, Director of Human Resources. “Partnering with the Food Bank seemed like a natural way to share our company’s spirit with our neighbors as well.”
While Grimmway contributes fresh produce and monetary donations to CAPK year-round, they hosted their first employee-driven food drive across nine of their facilities in December.
“Food is a necessity we work hard to produce, and CAPK operates in all of the areas where we farm,” says Morris. “Our goal was to create an opportunity for employees to give back to our community and get involved in a cause that’s close to home.”
Grimmway employees, and those of 28 other local businesses, donated more than 19,000 pounds of canned and boxed food to supplement the Food Bank’s efforts this holiday season.
“Hunger doesn’t take a holiday,” says Program Director Glen Ephrom, “but the season brings added importance because we want families to be able to come together and enjoy each other.”
Building ties with similar organizations helps CAPK work more efficiently and reach those far beyond their capacity.
With a common goal in mind, Grimmway plans to continue their holiday food drive and extend the length of the effort to increase employee donations. Though the holidays have passed, all Kern County residents are encouraged to contribute to the Food Bank as all donations are welcomed.
The extended holiday food drive will begin later this year during the 2017 holiday season.
To drop off donations to the CAPK Food Bank, please visit their storage center at 1807 Feliz Drive on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story made it seem as if this extended drive was still going on. That has been amended.