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Tune into FIND Food Bank’s April 8 telethon, help fight food insecurity

April 4 | Featured

Winston Gieseke

Philanthropy and Special Sections Editor

The Desert Sun

Summer is often a difficult time for local families dealing with food insecurity. As the desert’s economy slows down, budgets tighten. Kids who are accustomed to being fed at school ֫— which is oftentimes their only daily meal — find themselves at home where there is little or no food. And some people may be forced to choose between food and air conditioning as summer temperatures rise.

FIND Food Bank is working to end food insecurity. And there is something you can do to help. Join in the nonprofit organization’s 12th annual Telethon to Fight Child Hunger and watch as your dollars give hope to thousands of valley residents experiencing hunger this summer and beyond.

The event, FIND’s most important fundraiser of the year, will be broadcast live Friday, April 8, from 7 to 8 p.m. on News Channel 3, who serves as the event’s sponsor.

“Providing food (to people in need) allows them to take the money they would have spent to feed their families and reallocate it to other expenses that are needed in order to thrive,” said Debbie Espinosa, FIND’s president and CEO. “We know that many people right now, especially because of the cost of food and the cost of gas, are struggling to pay their rent or their mortgage, and we don’t want them to go homeless.

“Food has this really wonderful trickle-down effect: If we can provide them with it, the effects it has overall with the other things they need to survive can be positively affected to as well.”

According to Espinosa, less than 3% of the 150,000 people FIND serves on average every month is homeless. The majority of them, 97%, are people who are working, who have homes and families. But with the high cost of living in California right now, some people still have difficulties putting food on the table while keeping up with the skyrocketing costs of living.

Espinosa said more than 86% of the children in the valley that go to public schools qualify for free and reduced lunch. And by definition, those who qualify for free and reduced lunch are food insecure. “That is the population we’re going to be really focusing on through this, and we hope we can get a healthy amount of donations so we can continue to feed them.

“The food bank has been around nearly 40 years,” Espinosa said. “And more and moreover the last decade, we’ve been trying to make sure people are educated about food insecurity in our valley while breaking down the stereotypes of those who come to receive assistance. Many of them are wonderful, hardworking people. Sometimes the circumstances of life just catch up with them. Thankfully, people get that. We have been getting some larger gifts.”

Last month Bank of America donated $10,000 to the food bank, which was presented to Espinosa by Inland Empire Bank of America President Bansree Parikh. The amount will provide 45,000 additional meals for people in the community. According to Parikh, “Bank of America is committed to helping strengthen communities through California.”

And on March 15, members of the Hideaway Golf Club in La Quinta presented a check for $125,000 to FIND. According to Kayleen Sullivan, FIND’s development and community relations manager, individual residents of the Hideaway joined forces to raise the funds. This is the golf club’s second major donation; in 2021, the group donated more than $77,000 to the organization.

For more information on FIND Food Bank’s Telethon to Fight Child Hunger, visit findfoodbank.org/telethon2022.

Winston Gieseke

Philanthropy and Special Sections Editor

The Desert Sun

Summer is often a difficult time for local families dealing with food insecurity. As the desert’s economy slows down, budgets tighten. Kids who are accustomed to being fed at school ֫— which is oftentimes their only daily meal — find themselves at home where there is little or no food. And some people may be forced to choose between food and air conditioning as summer temperatures rise.

FIND Food Bank is working to end food insecurity. And there is something you can do to help. Join in the nonprofit organization’s 12th annual Telethon to Fight Child Hunger and watch as your dollars give hope to thousands of valley residents experiencing hunger this summer and beyond.

The event, FIND’s most important fundraiser of the year, will be broadcast live Friday, April 8, from 7 to 8 p.m. on News Channel 3, who serves as the event’s sponsor.

“Providing food (to people in need) allows them to take the money they would have spent to feed their families and reallocate it to other expenses that are needed in order to thrive,” said Debbie Espinosa, FIND’s president and CEO. “We know that many people right now, especially because of the cost of food and the cost of gas, are struggling to pay their rent or their mortgage, and we don’t want them to go homeless.

“Food has this really wonderful trickle-down effect: If we can provide them with it, the effects it has overall with the other things they need to survive can be positively affected to as well.”

According to Espinosa, less than 3% of the 150,000 people FIND serves on average every month is homeless. The majority of them, 97%, are people who are working, who have homes and families. But with the high cost of living in California right now, some people still have difficulties putting food on the table while keeping up with the skyrocketing costs of living.

Espinosa said more than 86% of the children in the valley that go to public schools qualify for free and reduced lunch. And by definition, those who qualify for free and reduced lunch are food insecure. “That is the population we’re going to be really focusing on through this, and we hope we can get a healthy amount of donations so we can continue to feed them.

“The food bank has been around nearly 40 years,” Espinosa said. “And more and moreover the last decade, we’ve been trying to make sure people are educated about food insecurity in our valley while breaking down the stereotypes of those who come to receive assistance. Many of them are wonderful, hardworking people. Sometimes the circumstances of life just catch up with them. Thankfully, people get that. We have been getting some larger gifts.”

Last month Bank of America donated $10,000 to the food bank, which was presented to Espinosa by Inland Empire Bank of America President Bansree Parikh. The amount will provide 45,000 additional meals for people in the community. According to Parikh, “Bank of America is committed to helping strengthen communities through California.”

And on March 15, members of the Hideaway Golf Club in La Quinta presented a check for $125,000 to FIND. According to Kayleen Sullivan, FIND’s development and community relations manager, individual residents of the Hideaway joined forces to raise the funds. This is the golf club’s second major donation; in 2021, the group donated more than $77,000 to the organization.

For more information on FIND Food Bank’s Telethon to Fight Child Hunger, visit findfoodbank.org/telethon2022.