FAIRFIELD — The oranges are in the bag. So are the apples, potatoes and broccoli as the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano introduced its new tool in fighting hunger: the Kraft Mobile Pantry truck.
Fourteen employees of Kraft Foods packed oranges Tuesday inside the Fairfield food bank warehouse. Among them was Paul Damelio, a Fairfield resident.
“This is fantastic,” he said. “The truck is a beautiful piece of equipment. I can’t wait to see it in the community.”
Maria Gabbart, the community outreach coordinator for the Family Resource Center at Cleo Gordon Elementary School, also pitched in with packing oranges. The truck will stop next month at her school.
“We are so excited,” she said.
Gabbart said she’s impressed that the truck is refrigerated.
“Sometimes celery gets wilted and it’s not appealing,” she said. “Fresh produce, for me, just feels better.”
Suisun City residents got a glimpse of the truck Friday when it stopped by the Kroc Center. Almost 650 people benefitted from that visit.
“It will make a huge impact,” said Larry Sly, director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
The timing couldn’t be better to add the truck, which will be on the road four days a week. The food bank has seen a 50 percent increase in people needing assistance since 2008, Sly said.
The truck, described as a “Farmers Market on Wheels,” parks in a pre-determined spot, opens it doors and those who need the produce – and qualify to receive it – can come and pick it up.
There will be 19 stops in Solano County, four of them in Fairfield and Suisun City. Each site will be visited every other week.
A nutrition educator will be available at some sites to let people know how to make the most of their produce. Recipes will also be available at some stops.
What’s available will depend on the season. As spring and summer arrive, melons will probably be offered, Sly said.
A complete list of the days and times of the truck visits can be found at www.foodbankccs.org/get-help/community-produce-program.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.