Fresh Produce Shortage Puts Strain On Placer Food Bank

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – With the drought limiting the amount of fresh food given by farmers, workers at the Placer Food Bank are worried they can’t help the thousands who need them.

When Rebecca Dipoli-Jones lost their family’s only income coming in, life changed really fast.

“It’s a scary thought to think, ‘Where’s the money going to come from?’” Dipoli-Jones said.

And how she was going to feed her three children.

“You don’t just walk into a Bel Air and go grocery shopping,” Dipoli-Jones said.

Jones, like many others when the recession hit, got help from the Placer Food Bank. Before 2007, the agency served 5,000 people a month. Now that number is holding strong at 60,000 – with one in eight people in Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties not knowing where their next meal will come from.

“The economy is making improvements but I think the level of income that people were receiving before. We still haven’t seen those levels come back,” said Dave Martinez, Executive Director of the Placer Food Bank.

Seven and a half million pounds of food moves through the food bank, but not a lot of produce these days thanks to the drought.

“Products like this are very difficult to get a hold of as well,” Martinez said. “The late rains really affected the prime time for growing. The other thing that’s happening is as farmers were anticipating the drought, they decided to plant less.”

Leaving less leftover to give to the food bank. So now, the food bank just does what they can.

“We work very aggressively to store as much as we possibly can. But when we’re dealing with produce, that’s a very tough scenario,” Martinez said.

They also say demand is higher during the summer months when kids are out of school and not receiving free lunch programs.

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