Raley’s Family of Fine Stores has kicked off its 28th holiday bag campaign with the goal of raising more than 2 million pounds of food to help local food banks meet the increased demand for food among thousands of hungry families and individuals throughout Northern California and Nevada.
Beginning today through December 31st, donations can be made at checkout counters in all Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Foods and Food Sources stores or online at www.foodforfamilies.org. Reflecting the nation’s increased focus on healthy eating, this year Raley’s will be offering a variety of fresh and nutritious items. “Our bag is bigger and better than ever,” said Jennifer Teal-Wolter, Food For Families Executive Director. “We’ve stocked each Food For Families holiday bag with healthy options meal solutions like whole-wheat pasta, fresh carrots, bananas, and more. For a mother with two children, that can mean a healthy dinner on the table for up to a week.”
For the first time, this year’s holiday bag will also include a gallon of milk. “Milk provides a powerhouse of nutrients, particularly to young children, and we know that up to 95% of food banks don’t have milk enough to meet their clients needs,” said Tammy Anderson-Wise, CEO of the Dairy Council of California. “Donation drives are an important way to bridge that gap and get milk into the hands of those who need it most this holiday season.”
Food For Families partners with 72 food banks throughout Northern California and Nevada to distribute the food to help feed the hungry throughout the year. Funds raised benefit partners within that community.
In 2013, more than 2 million pounds of food was contributed which equated to more than 85,000 bags of food to be distributed to local food banks. To date, Food For Families has raised more than $29 million and donated more than 19 million pounds of dry groceries to food banks in our communities. The program was established in 1986 and is unique in the United States in that Raley’s absorbs all administrative expenses ensuring that 100% of every donation reaches local families in need.
According to a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California, the child poverty rate in the state is trending upward with more than 2 million children estimated to be living in poverty in the state. The counties with the highest child poverty rates include Merced, Lake, Stanislaus, Sutter and Yuba. In Sacramento County, more than 17.2% of the population consider themselves to be “food insecure” meaning they do not have enough access to food.