MANTECA -- Four producers of eggs got a jump on the Easter Bunny this week by donating about 22,000 of them to a food bank.
The gift was made to Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties, which supplies other agencies with food for low-income people.
"Being that it's such a high-protein item, we couldn't be happier with the donation," said Paul Rengh, the food bank's chief executive officer.
The eggs will be distributed through the member agencies as Easter approaches. The food bank serves about 120,000 people a year, Rengh said.
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The donation, part of a national effort this month by the United Egg Producers trade group, came from J.S. West & Co. of Modesto, Gemperle Farms of Turlock, Valley Fresh Foods of Turlock and Sunrise Farms of Petaluma.
The four companies are partners in NuCal Foods Inc., an egg distribution cooperative based in Ripon.
They are donating 500,000 eggs in the Central Valley, the Bay Area and Reno. Nationwide, the industry is giving more than 12 million, all through America's Second Harvest, a network of food banks.
"This is a time during the food bank cycle when it's difficult to get good protein," said Eric Benson, senior vice president at J.S. West.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2385.