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We all know the price of groceries has soared recently. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, costs have risen more than 13% in the last year. Fresno EOC recognized that challenge and stepped in to help ensure families in need, are fed.Fresno EOC Chief Operating Officer, Michelle L. Tutunjian says, “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fresno EOC has enacted several emergency disaster policies and procedures to carry out a variety of activities designed to reduce poverty, revitalize low-income communities, and empower low-income families and individuals.”

Recently, Fresno EOC sprang into action, and developed a one-time direct cash assistance program (in the form of gift cards), to help meet emergency needs for families in 12 cities and 49 zip codes throughout Fresno, Madera, and Kings Counties. With a $293,500 investment from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding and an extremely tight deadline for distribution efforts, Fresno EOC distributed grocery gift cards valued at $250 to 1,174 households. And it all came together within a 30-day period.

This has to be a blessing at the right time. You don’t know how needed this is. I am so thankful. Thank you so much.

– Geraldine Sims, Foster Grandparent Program Volunteer

Those who received the gift cards say they have had a significant impact. Fresno EOC Energy Services Client, Maria Talavera explained, “With the help of the $250 grocery card supplied by Fresno EOC, I didn’t have to decide between paying the bills or buying groceries this month.”

Foster Grandparent Program Volunteer Geraldine Sims said, “This has to be a blessing at the right time. You don’t know how needed this is. I am so thankful. Thank you so much.”

Another recipient, a parent of a student at Fresno EOC SOUL Charter High School said, “Getting the food card in August was extremely helpful to me. Normally, I would go to the free food pantries due to not being able to afford to always buy food especially since I don’t qualify for cash aid or food stamps. I live in a household with 2 families, 9 of them being under 17, with me being the main provider. It gets rough by myself, and anything helps.”

To be eligible for service benefit, Fresno EOC clients had to be at or below 200% of the federal poverty line as determined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), based on the most recent federal Census data by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Clients also had to declare they were COVID-19 impacted.

About Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC)

Established in 1965, Fresno EOC is a non-profit Community Action Agency that provides opportunities, strengthens self-sufficiency, and offers support for all people. We listen to the needs of the communities we serve to create effective programs and services. Fresno EOC is at the forefront, continuing the war on poverty with more than 30 programs dedicated to getting people the help they need to achieve their goals.

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