The Reporter - Vacaville, CA
Vaca FISH is moving
      By Kimberly K. Fu

POSTED:   08/02/2014 08:37:08 PM PDT

Since its humble beginnings in 1971, Vaca FISH, a nonprofit food pantry, has helped keep thousands of local families from going hungry.

The goal is to help thousands more, officials said, though it'll be from different digs. On Sept. 1, Vaca FISH will be operating from its new location at 40 Eldridge Ave., Suite 9.

It's bigger than the portable parked outside Three Oaks Community Center, so it'll hold more goods. It's newer, so will likely be around a lot longer.

The building is also in a central location, so FISH staffers hope they'll be easier to find.

"We are so happy," said Jennifer Carpenter, FISH president. "It's just a humble pantry but we get the job done."

The organization is completely dependent on the community's goodwill, Carpenter emphasized, which is why it has been so successful. The giving spirit, she continued, is huge in Vacaville.

About 10 families per day are helped by the pantry, and about 1,200 families per year. They receive everything from dry goods to canned goods, bread, any available produce and even poultry.

"We're blessed we can still give out chickens. For larger families, we give out two," Carpenter said. "I think we're the only food pantry that gives out chickens."

The program works like this if you're in need, drop by the office, currently on Alamo Drive in the Three Oaks complex across the skate park. Fill out a form and, if you meet income requirements, you're in. Once a month you drop in, sign in, show your ID and pick up your food. You get enough to feed your family for three days, or a total of nine meals.

Supplemented by goods from other pantries (though not on the same day as your Vaca FISH pickup), your family should be okay food-wise.

Families can also receive Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets, which are distributed on the Saturday preceding these holidays. Up to 250 families are served each holiday.

Carpenter said the group is all about keeping families afloat, as many FISH volunteers have experienced some type of hardship firsthand. They welcome your help in giving back.

Food donations, especially of chickens, are always welcomed.

Contributions of time are also embraced, as the food must be sorted and bagged and help with other duties are needed.

If you have a truck, you're sorely needed as Vaca FISH transitions to its new location. They pick up the keys to their new office on Aug. 18 and will go from there. Call ASAP if you can help.

Shelving and a new freezer would also be happily accepted to replace aging and broken models.

Food can be dropped off from 10 a.m.-noon on weekdays.

For more information, or to help, call the office at 447-5482.

The Reporter - Vacaville, CA
Vaca FISH needs help filling shelves
    By Melissa Murphy

Posted: 05/15/2009

Now, more than ever, residents are leaning on food banks to feed their families and merely get by.

At Vaca FISH, President Frank Johnson is seeing more and more families that aren't already in the system look to them for help.

"More people are in a bind," he said. "They've lost their jobs, their homes. Fortunately, we can help, but we're running low."

Vaca FISH is looking to the rest of the Vacaville community for help.

The organization needs canned items, such as corn, pork and beans, pasta, fruit and tomatoes.

The group is completely out of packaged pastas like Rice-a-Roni and rice. Monetary donations are being primarily used for hot dogs, chicken, bread and butter.

"It's a sad situation," Johnson said. "Several churches have regular food drives, but we're still depleting our resources."

He explained that families are allowed to seek assistance from Vaca FISH once a month, where they are given enough food for three days.

Johnson said that usually the food collected during drives held at schools in November, last at least until June, but that's definitely not the case this time.

"Last year was up from the year before and it looks like we're going to continue that trend," he said.

This year, Vaca FISH has already helped some 1,500 families.

Thousands of pounds of food were collected last week during the national "Stamp Out Hunger" sponsored by the United State Postal Service. Residents were asked to place canned food in mail boxes for the mailcarries to pick up on their routes.

Cities in Solano County saw at least a 25 percent increase from last year with 57,500 pounds of food collected.

The Vacaville post offices alone collected 15,831 pounds of food.

Every bit will help, say local food bank officials.

"We ran out of food a couple of weeks ago," said Marilu Boucher, development director with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. "This food will insure that families will be fed through the summer."

Boucher added that during the summer the need for food increases since families can't rely on the school systems to feed the children.

"Having to make sure children have enough food for three meals a day can put a strain on the family," she said.

For more information on how to donate, call the Vaca FISH Office at 447-5482


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