Oct 09, 2014 No Comments by

Fresno, California…October 8, 2014: In the past five years, The Big Fresno Fair’s Save Mart & FoodMaxx “Feed the Need” Community Food Drive efforts have helped collect over 300 tons of food to feed those in need in the Central Valley. This food drive effort, held in partnership with The Salvation Army and Community Food Bank was first started in 2009 inspired by the drought that had put thousands of people out of work on the Valley’s Westside. Since that first community food drive, The Big Fresno Fair has utilized this program to not only provide an affordable way for people to enjoy the Fair, but encourage them to give back to the community and help those in need. The Save Mart & FoodMaxx “Feed the Need” Community Food Drive is supported by Wells Fargo, Land O’Lakes, CBS 47 and Univision Fresno.


New this year, The Big Fresno Fair Management Team and Board of Directors implemented a Corporate Donation Outreach Initiative in which they reached out to food and beverage companies, as well as individuals in the community to step up and be part of the Save Mart & FoodMaxx “Feed the Need” Community Food Drive effort. The goal with this outreach effort was to secure monetary or bulk food donations to further help The Salvation Army and Community Food Bank meet the ever-increasing need for emergency food assistance. After an initial letter was sent to companies throughout Fresno County, direct phone calls were then placed to encourage participation and the rest is history!


“We are incredibly pleased with the response from our community and local businesses – who all want to be part of our community food drive effort to help meet this incredible need for food assistance,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager at The Big Fresno Fair. “We are thrilled to have this much food and money collected even before we open our gates on Thursday for our Save Mart & FoodMaxx ‘Feed the Need’ Community Food Drive and can’t wait to see the end result!”


Through donations from local businesses and individuals, as well as an early food drive held with KGPE CBS 47, the Fair has collected $10,650 and 45,057 lbs. of food – all part of the “Feed the Need” Community Food Drive effort. This will go towards the total collected at the Save Mart & FoodMaxx “Feed the Need” Community Food Drive on Thursday, October 9 where five cans of food or other non-perishable food items will get Fair patrons into the Fair for free from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Last year, 80 tons of food (160,004 lbs.) of food was collected.


The local businesses and individuals who have donated towards this effort are:

  • Better Flooring Inc.
  • Central Valley Community Bank
  • Fowler Packing
  • Frank & Darlene Hashimoto
  • GL Bruno Associates
  • Harris Ranch
  • Howe Electric
  • J & L Vineyards
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Leslie & Donna Ishii
  • Minnick Roofing
  • Paden & Bletscher Construction
  • Penny Newman
  • Ricks Drywall, Inc.
  • Ron & Judith Elia
  • Simonian Fruit Company
  • Slenders Dairy
  • Sumner Peck Ranch, Inc.
  • Takashi & Amy Tsuda
  • TerraNova Ranch, Inc.
  • Trinity Fruit Sales
  • Vida Sana Medical Group
  • Wawona Frozen Foods
  • Wells Fargo
  • Wm. B. Saleh Co. Distinctive Painting


“The overall message is simple. The need for food is great and the need is now,” said Captain Dwaine Breazeale, County Coordinator for The Salvation Army. “We need the communities of Fresno County to come together and step up to the challenge. Help your fellow community. Every donation makes a difference and if every member of our community donates it will add up and have a large impact!”


Currently, there are 603,254 people living in poverty in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern and Tulare Counties that are unable to provide food for themselves and their families. Within the last two years, the need for food assistance has increased by 430%. The Salvation Army and Community Food Bank work together to not only provide food to those families in need in the Central Valley, but other forms of assistance and education. For every $1 donated, The Salvation Army and Community Food Bank can buy $8 worth of food through their bulk suppliers – or enough to prepare nine meals!


“Hunger reaches deep into the community, especially in the current economic climate. With the holidays approaching, we’re beginning to look for new sources of assistance to feed those in need,” said Andy Souza, CEO, Community Food Bank. “The community can help us by donating their time, financial resources or non-perishable food items in support of the 1 in 4 Valley residents who experience food hardship each day.”


As an agricultural-based Fair, The Big Fresno Fair is proud to stand behind this program but an effort like this doesn’t continue to successfully grow or maintain its status as a record-holding food drive on its own; it takes planning, organization and most importantly community stewardship from both the public and local businesses. The Big Fresno Fair Management Team, Board of Directors and staff look forward to Thursday’s “Feed the Need” Community Food Drive event and collecting even more for those in need.


About Community Food Bank:

Through a partnership with 180 agencies, Community Food Bank distributes nutritious food to more than 220,000 food insecure people monthly in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern and Tulare Counties. Annually, more than 31 million pounds of food are provided to these communities. Community Food Bank supports a variety of hunger and nutrition education programs including the Emergency Food Assistance Food Program, Food Pantry Distribution, Mobile Pantry, Nutrition on Wheels, and Neighborhood Markets. For more information visit



About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is the top-ranked non-profit for responding to domestic social needs in the United States and provides meals to those in need on a daily basis. In 2009, The Fresno County Salvation Army provided food boxes to 70,000 men, women and children. This year, distribution is on track to reach at least 100,000 men, women and children. In addition to food relief for the hungry, The Salvation Army has provided successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, transitional housing for women and children, eviction prevention, utility assistance, and senior housing in Fresno since 1890.  About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in the San Joaquin Valley. For more information visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.


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