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From a turkey sandwich to a 9-course meal, Fresno EOC Food Services serves up tasty menus for individuals, organizations, and large events across the Central Valley. The kitchen is staffed by a talented and hardworking team of 50 people, and they are all led by Chef Crystal Vazquez. Vazquez, a Fresno native, has been involved in the Fresno food industry for nearly 20 years, including employment at restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and catering companies. She now oversees the Food Services operation at Fresno EOC, which includes scheduling, creating menus, and keeping the kitchen structured. She and her staff are responsible for creating up to 8,000 meals each day. “It is a fast-paced, high-pressure operation that requires some of our staff to come in at 3 am to fire up the ovens. And we take this very seriously because if we don’t meet our daily goals, people won’t get fed.”

 

Meals are created for a number of local programs, including Head Start 0 to 5. Food Services delivers 4,000 nutritious meals to Head Start 0 to 5 campuses in Fresno County on a daily basis. However, the largest program managed by Food Services is Senior Home Delivery, which most people know as Meals on Wheels, delivering food to seniors who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. Crystal says, “About 11,000 frozen dinners are sent to clients at their homes each week in Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties. These meals will help older home-bound adults improve their diet, reduce the risk of food insecurity, and maintain their independence.”

 

Food Services also offers catering services that are available seven days a week. Café EOC Catering offers an extensive menu and can create custom fare for events with more than 400 guests in the Fresno County area. Crystal says they have catered events such as conferences, weddings, quinceañeras, birthdays, and baby showers. “You name it. We will cater it and set you up with our preferred vendors for all your decorative needs, as well. We are on the preferred vendor list at The Grand in Downtown Fresno and host many events there. We also have the Nielsen Conference Center across from us here at Food Services.” Café EOC Catering is a social enterprise of the agency with money cycling back in to Fresno EOC programs which are designed to provide resources and help people reach their goals. “Our prices are reasonable, and all proceeds go back into the organization, so using our services always serves a great cause.”

The Food Services Team recently catered an outdoor Cinco de Mayo lunch for 250 Fresno EOC staff members. There was a taco trio (beef, chicken, and veggie), along with beans, rice, salsas, drinks, and dessert.

 

“The work we do is very rewarding and uplifting. Culinary school and the life of a chef were initially short-term goals that grew into a passion for food and a career that has allowed me to provide for my children as a single parent. Still, I always knew I wanted to go back to school. My dream is to make healthy fresh food more accessible, affordable, and overall, more desirable.” Crystal is now attending Fresno State where she is studying Food Science and Nutrition and has applied to Arizona State University Online to pursue a degree in Sustainable Food Systems. “I have a dream to help reform the broken food systems in the United States and hopefully expand to helping globally one day, but only after helping the Central Valley heal its food deserts and increase its food security. It feels great to put purpose behind the food that I serve.”

 

About Fresno EOC Food Services

Fresno EOC Food Services established operations in 1965. At its inception, Food Services served lunches to Head Start children and later added the National Meals on Wheels Program in 1972. In the beginning, meals were prepared in satellite kitchens within the City of Fresno, but by October of 1985, the vision of constructing a central kitchen was realized and the state-of-art Food Preparation Center (FPC) was opened. Food Services served 2,000 meals a day when the FPC opened and now serves up to 8,000 meals daily.

For media inquiries, please contact Claudia.solis@fresnoeoc.org.

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