Nonprofit celebrates 20 years of feeding the hungry

09/04/2014 3:25 PM

09/04/2014 5:19 PM

With an open house Friday night, the United Samaritans Foundation will celebrate 20 years of feeding the hungry.

The event recognizing the nonprofit organization’s founding will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at its main office, 220 S. Broadway, and will include tours, refreshments and a chance for the public to meet with staff. The event includes picture boards of the foundation’s services, including its Daily Bread Ministry lunch trucks.

These four trucks serve free lunches Mondays through Fridays at 46 parks, neighborhoods, senior apartment complexes and other sites in nine Stanislaus County communities, including Turlock, Modesto and Ceres.

United Samaritans Foundation Executive Director Barbara Bawanan said the lunch trucks serve more than 1,500 lunches a day and served nearly 397,000 meals last year. She said a January survey of those who use the lunch trucks showed that it was the only meal of the day for 32 percent and that 61 percent use the trucks at least four days a week. She said 82 percent reported they had housing.

“It’s meeting a basic need for people facing food insecurity,” Bawanan said.

United Samaritans also provides emergency food boxes, which have enough food for three meals a day for three days for each family member, and a clothes closet. Last year, the foundation gave out 3,384 food boxes and 40,234 articles of clothing.

United Samaritans operates a supportive services program at its Broadway location in which the homeless can have a cup of coffee, something to eat, take a shower and do laundry. Bawanan said 562 homeless people, including 34 children, used the program last year.

To learn more about the United Samaritans Foundation, go to www.unitedsamaritans.org.

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