WOODLAND — On Friday afternoons, a line forms against the Yolo Food Bank’s warehouse or under the overhang on the right side of the parking lot. The sun beats down and the thermometer soars above 100 degrees, an unwelcome reminder of why they are all here.
With the drought raging on, numerous families and residents around Yolo County have lost jobs or seen their electricity bills spike past what they can afford. The Food Bank received a second round of aid through the Drought Food Assistance Program this week, and will distribute 5,676 more boxes of food during the fall.
The boxes include non-perishables: oatmeal, pinto beans, spaghetti and soup, to name a few. Karen Strach, director of programs at the Food Bank, said the program served 1,200 clients during the summer. Other than addresses, no information is collected about the people who receive the food, which is allotted on an honor system.
Esmerelda Perez, 22, said her husband and father lost their jobs at the SunFoods rice mill this year.
“No water, no jobs,” she said.
She works part time as a dietary aide at the Alderson Convalescent Hospital, but her 17-year-old brother had to take a job working on a farm to help support their parents, who still have four children living at home.
“I don’t know how they’re going to do it,” Perez said.
Kenny Spicer, 50, said his parents’ garden and fruit trees dried up under the heat.
“We grow some of everything,” Spicer said. “We have a garden year-round.”
This year, though, the trees are dying, and Spicer said rodents eat at the exposed tree roots to try to find some water. To cut costs, Spicer uses a push mower now, instead of an electric, but a skin condition makes it hard to be out in the sun.
And Dolores Ramirez, 54, said her electricity bills have skyrocketed.
“We’re all having to pay so much, we have to come here for food,” Ramirez said.
Food assistance will be distributed at 12 locations, which can be found on the Yolo Food Bank’s website, www.yolofoodbank.org, or by calling 530-668-0690.
— Reach Elizabeth Case at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow her on Twitter at @elizabeth_case