ANZA, Calif. -
Most people know FIND Food Bank as the Desert's Regional Food Bank, which provides food to those in need living in the Coachella Valley. However, most people don't realize just how far of a reach FIND Food Bank has. We spoke with the community of Anza, California at one of FIND's food distributions. News Channel 3's Caitlin Thropay shares how much they truly rely on this food.
In a town of roughly 3,000 people, miles away from any major grocery stores, FIND Food Bank travels to Anza once a month to bring food to those who are food insecure.
“It really is greatly needed up here in Anza,” Shelby Nalbandian said.
“This food drive absolutely helps so many families, so many children and elderly in this community,” another resident, Mary Jane Metzler added.
On average 300 families are served every month at the Anza FIND Food Bank distribution.
“First of all, it’s a long drive to Temecula to go buy groceries and not everyone can make it there and back all the time," Metzler said.
“We need the vegetables and the produce that we can’t get and the pantries up here are not sufficient enough,” Nalbandian added.
Many express how hard it is for them to travel long distances to get what they need.
“Transportation up and down the hill and gasoline cost, it really helps us greatly,” Nalbandian said.
“Me in a wheelchair, getting all packed up and getting down there is really difficult,” Jerry Eggering said.
Anza residents start lining up two to three hours before distribution time, braving cold temperatures and high wind speeds to get the food they need.
“I am picking up food for three families today that could not make it here and we inched our way here in the fog because we couldn’t see the road in front of us but we made it,” Metzler said.
The generosity of FIND Food Bank creates a chain reaction, helping one person who helps another.
“Sometimes we are able to bless people who are around us who can’t get out and go and get food,” Eggering said.
FIND Food Bank has a vast service area spanning from Joshua Tree, Anza, all of the Coachella Valley and all the way down to Blythe.
“Food insecurity is an issue year-round," FIND Food Bank's Director of Community Impact, Lorena Marroquin said. "A lot of the recipients we serve face this issue year-round but it’s especially hard during the holiday months where we see our distribution sites increase by 10 percent across our service area,” she added.
And residents of Anza couldn't be more grateful to FIND Food Bank. These monthly distributions have only been around for a short time but have already made a huge impact.
“It means a lot to me," Eggering said. "It keeps my refrigerator full,” he added.
For more information on FIND Food Bank and where you can find a food distribution near you, visit http://www.findfoodbank.org/