“Since we’re an agricultural county, the need really does grow dramatically over the holidays,” said Bill Gibbs, executive director of the Merced County Food Bank. “A lot of families rely on that [field] work for their entire income so when the work stops for the season, the need grows.”
Located behind the Walmart in North Merced, the 30,000-square-foot food warehouse serves more than 100 nonprofit agencies throughout the county. These “customers” oversee a variety of smaller food pantries, brown-bag programs and emergency food centers which distribute groceries directly to those in need.
Meat is part of our local culture; it’s a part of everyday life. Some of my friends and lots of other people around here have grown up raising animals for meat. So learning how to express my thoughts on vegetarianism to friends while still respecting the way they grew up is challenging for me. I often draw on my own personal experience.
At that instant I realized that I have the greatest and most hard-working mom in the universe. Even though she is always tired for her work, she keeps going because she wants to give my sisters and me a better life, and we do not see that. We constantly ask her for money as if it grows on trees, and she gives it to us without complaining.
“I wish they would treat us better, or that we could have more opportunities,” said Gonzalez, who also noted that working in the fields while being a student at Merced College student is challenging. “I’ve been working in the fields since I was in high school, because it is the only way I could make a living.”
Bergman said he tries to have enough variety in the truck so any family buying food can make a whole meal out of the products. At any given time, the truck sells pears, grapefruits, lemons, apples, carrots, onions, broccoli, rice, beans, and more, depending on what local farmers have available.