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Desert Manna announces three summer food drives

‘End Hunger in Our Community Now!' campaign to benefit locals

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • Three separate campaigns geared to end local hunger and fill Desert Manna’s food pantry are in progress in Barstow and surrounding communities.

“Feds Feed Families” and the “Feed SoCal” hunger initiative kicked off individually in June and July at local military bases and the Barstow Vons grocery store. The third campaign called “End Hunger in Our Community Now!” is sponsored by Desert Manna. The nonprofit is seeking financial contributions from local residents and businesses that will go directly to fund and provide food to their programs.

“Our outreach is really getting out to the community,” said Desert Manna Board President Darrin Fikstad. “We’re working with other local nonprofits that help us distribute food and we’re being a lot more successful and equitable.”

The Feed SoCal campaign is sponsored by ABC7, Vons, Care 1st, ESPN LA 710, PODS, Mathis Brothers, McMahonsRV and several food banks in Southern California, according to a Desert Manna news release. Those who wish to donate to the Feed SoCal initiative can purchase a pre-filled $5 bag or other non-perishable food items, or bring the items from home, and leave them in the Feed SoCal box at Vons in Barstow. That food drive ends July 28.

Feds Feed Families is organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and runs until Aug. 28. All federal agencies, including both local military bases, have been asked to participate. Employees at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow and Fort Irwin Army post can purchase bags of food at commissaries. The Fort Irwin Commissary is donating bags to both Desert Manna and the Barstow Veterans Home. While the MCLB is donating exclusively to Desert Manna, according to the release.

Desert Manna provides food to approximately 10 percent of the Barstow population through its food programs, according to Fikstad. For the fourth year in a row they are working to alleviate childhood hunger during the summer by hosting the USDA sponsored summer sack lunch program, he said. Approximately 4,700 students in the Barstow Unified School District qualify for free or reduced-cost breakfast or lunches during the school year, according to the news release.

Desert Manna also provides monthly and emergency food baskets to hundreds of local families and hosts free hot meals inside their shelter on various weekdays for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, they act as a food bank by delivering surplus food to a number of local nonprofits and churches. In April of this year, 224 cases were delivered to Barstow-area agencies, according to the release.

Monetary donations to the “End Hunger in Our Community Now!” campaign can be mailed to Desert Manna until Aug. 31 at 201 N. 1 Ave, Ste. B, Barstow, CA 92311 or submitted online at www.desertmanna.com. Be sure to include a note specifying the donation is for the hunger campaign, the release states.


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