Foster Farms is celebrating 75 years in business by donating chicken dinners to that many low-income households in west Modesto.
The weekly giveaway is taking place over 12 weeks here and in six other cities around the West. The Livingston-based company also has launched a social media campaign that aims to get food to as many as 75,000 other people.
Tuesday was third time that Modesto residents picked up the dinners at Second Baptist Church, one of the regular distribution sites for Second Harvest Food Bank of Manteca. The recipients, who also are from the nearby Carpenter’s House church, were chosen based on need.
“Every little bit helps when you’re on Social Security,” said Diana Dominici after receiving two large grocery bags full of food. They included a package of rotisserie-seasoned breast filets – cooked, frozen chicken works best for a food bank – as well as canned vegetables, gravy mix, cookies and fresh carrots, potatoes and apples.
Foster Farms, founded on an unknown date in 1939 by the late Max and Verda Foster, has become the top-selling poultry brand in the West. It employs about 12,000 people in several states, including 3,500 at the Livingston chicken plant and 1,300 in the Turlock turkey operation.
The food bank campaign, Pass the Plate, also is taking place in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland and Seattle.
“The whole idea is to do something about food insecurity on the West Coast,” said Ira Brill, director of communications at Foster Farms.
In keeping with the anniversary, the company is urging all families to spend at least 75 minutes a week gathered at the dining table.
“The purpose is to bring families together at least once a week and pass the plates around and have a conversation,” said Jessica Vaughan, community development coordinator at Second Harvest.
Mike Mallory, Second Harvest’s chief executive officer, said Foster Farms long has been a major supporter. This includes the Food 4 Thought program, which twice a month provides groceries to children who complete after-school activities at numerous schools.
The food provided Tuesday at Second Baptist will go down well with the family of Ernesto Bravo.
“It’s good,” he said in Spanish as daughter Rosa translated. “Every time they give us chicken, we eat it all.”