FIND Food Pantry distributes free food to residents

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Hamilton High School volleyball team members display some produce at the FIND Mobile Pantry event at the Anza Electric Cooperative. Diane Sieker photo

Anza Electric Cooperative Inc. employees, area volunteers, FIND Food Bank personnel, the Hamilton High School Bobcat volleyball team and Hamilton’s rising football star Dakota Lassen distributed free food to residents at the mobile pantry program in the AEC parking lot Saturday, Oct. 12.

Over 13,000 pounds of quality food were distributed at the monthly event.

The program, organized by FIND and the AEC, enlisted the volunteer help of several local organizations, as well as their own employees.

Anza Borrego Health Center representatives were on hand to provide educational materials, brochures and to chat with attendees about their health needs.

The event was well organized and orderly. The giveaway is planned for the second Saturday of every month.

Newly appointed Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council member and Lake Riverside Estates board treasurer Birdie Kopp, alongside Ron DiNicola with Allied Electric, a representative from the Anza Valley Outlook and others helped to hand out generous portions of fresh food.

The produce consisted of the freshest plums, grapes, artichokes and bananas. Canned goods, peanut butter, bags of pistachios, fresh bread, orange juice, milk, frozen pork loins and grated cheddar cheese were also provided at no cost.

Students and other volunteers assisted people to take the heavy bags to their cars. The morning was filled with ooohs and ahhhs and smiles all-around.

The cooperative even sponsored a child identification kit event, fingerprinting children for parents so that they can have the kit on file to better identify their child in case of an emergency or natural disaster. Cards with the prints were supplied to participating parents.

The AEC board of directors approved a donation for the mobile pantry that was matched by CoBank’s – one of the cooperative’s lenders – Sharing Success matching grant program. The remaining funds were donated by the High Country Conservancy. All this effort made it possible for the mobile pantry to distribute food to economically challenged Anza residents.

Food In Need of Distribution Inc., or FIND Food Bank, is the only regional food bank serving eastern Riverside and southern San Bernardino counties.

They distribute over 10 million pounds of food assistance annually to an average of 85,000 individuals each month, doing so through a network of 100-plus community-based partners whose programs include food pantries, soup kitchens, after-school and summer care, senior centers, faith-based organizations and homeless shelters.

FIND is a member of Feeding America and the California Association of Food Banks.

For more information about FIND, visit them at www.findfoodbank.org.

To learn more about the monthly food giveaway at the cooperative, call (951) 763-4333 or visit www.anzaelectric.org.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.