During the holidays, people are stretching their budgets to buy gifts for children and host family gatherings. Therefore, a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation to Food Now is coming at a critical time. The nonprofit organization typically provides weekly supplemental food distribution to about 325 families. However, that count doubles in November and December.
“Our food purchasing arrangements with Feeding America and FIND Food Bank allow us to provide five meals for $1, so a $25,000 grant is extremely impactful, and it’s coming when members of our community need it most,” said Dana Johnson, Executive Director of Food Now.
Food Now started fifty years ago with one Desert Hot Springs resident – Guy Tedesco – who turned his garage into a food pantry. Friends and neighbors contributed, and by 1989 the organization officially incorporated as a 501(c)3. This year, Food Now will distribute nearly 1 million pounds of nutritious food to help feed 14% (1 in 7) of the residents in western Coachella Valley. The organization previously concentrated on providing assistance to homeless and residents of Desert Hot Springs, but recently expanded to offer food to people in Palm Springs and Cathedral City.
“As needs have increased, Food Now has expanded its reach to help more people in our community,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2. Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, Food Now was featured on News Channel 3 programming, in public service announcements and on kesq.com throughout November.
Food Now feeds about 40-50 homeless clients each day. Last year, the organization provided food to about 1,700 households. That included about 4,100 individuals; more than 1,000 of them were children; and about 1,000 more were seniors. The nonprofit also has a pet food program, so people are not inclined to feed their animals with food intended for themselves.
“Food Now is reaching people of all ages with various levels of food insecurity, all of which contribute to additional stress wondering where a next meal will come. This hits especially hard around the holidays, when there are more expenses and more expectations,” said Catharine Reed, Vice President of Charitable Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
Food Now distributes food and other essentials on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at 14080 Palm Drive Suite E., Desert Hot Springs. Food donations are excepted in-person, and monetary contributions can be mailed or made online. Food Now is also holding a special event titled “Take Someone Under Your Wing” at the Bird Gardens on Saturday, December 4, Noon. For more information visit www.foodnowdhs.org or call 760-288-7878.