Brian Miller, Office of Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long, Chief of Staff ; John Marquez, Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director; Maria Ventura, Public Affairs Manager; Monica White President & CEO of Food Share of Ventura County and Manuel Minjares, Office of Ventura County Supervisor, District Representative attend the drive-thru distribution .
Food Share, Ventura County’s largest hunger-relief organization, has partnered with Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) to bring the “Fueling Our Communities” program to Ventura County with drive-thru meal distribution events in Santa Paula and El Rio community in Oxnard. The events, which were funded in part by the utility, provided more than 26,000 free meals to individuals and families struggling with food insecurity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to contributing to food purchasing for the drive-thru distributions, SoCalGas’ program is helping to stimulate Ventura County’s economy by enabling Food Share to partner with local restaurants whose sales have been impacted due to COVID-19 restaurant guidelines.
“In partnership with SoCalGas, Food Share has been able to distribute 800 gift cards to local restaurants during our drive-through food distributions. Those in need receive a free, delicious meal and in turn we’re happy to support our local food economy,” explained Monica White, Food Share’s President & CEO. “It’s really been a win-win for everyone.”
Food Share is one of five non-profit organizations that SoCalGas is collaborating with on the “Fueling Our Communities” program, to provide close to 140,000 meals to 40,000 individuals from underserved communities in Ventura, Tulare, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial counties. Funded by a $500,000 donation from SoCalGas, the program will span over the summer season in 44 cities and will feed seniors, students, families, and migrant farm workers while supporting local small businesses.
“We are proud to continue to support families facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Fueling Our Communities program,” said Maria Ventura, public affairs manager at SoCalGas. “So many people in Ventura County are struggling to put food on their table right now and SoCalGas wants to help however we can.”
In addition to these two events in partnership with SoCalGas’ “Fueling Our Communities” program, Food Share has provided food for just over half a million people since April through 123 drive-thru distribution events across the county.