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'I have no money, no food stamps' | Famous chef brings much-needed food donations to Stockton

Berkeley chef, activist and restaurant owner Alice Waters redirected food from schools to the food bank

STOCKTON, Calif. — At Stockton's Emergency Food Bank, Gabriel Villegas is a laid off warehouse worker, picking-up food and doing anything to survive.

"I have no money, no food stamps and due to the coronavirus I have no work," said Villegas.

Now, the food bank is getting some additional, and much needed, food donations courtesy of local organic growers and Berkeley chef, activist and restaurant owner Alice Waters.

Mary Lucero, Emergency Food Bank CEO, said those donations translate to shipments of collared greens, kale, apples, [and] just a variety of fruits and vegetables every week.

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Waters is famous for her "Edible Schoolyard Project," which teaches kids hands-on experience from the garden to the kitchen and shows that "nutrition begins in the soil."

Produce that would normally head to schools is now being redirected to food banks, and, for Waters, it's a "win, win" situation.

"Support the organic producers. We could pay them to bring food to Stockton and give it away for free," said Waters.

Mayor Michael Tubbs reached out to Waters to bring the project to the city.

"Through this partnership, every week, we'll be able to give out at least 2,000 pounds of food to the food bank, to elders, to the St. Mary's Dining Hall, [and] to make sure during this tough time that people have the basics of food," said Mayor Tubbs.

Since the Governor's stay at home order went into place, the number of people picking up food at the food bank has doubled from 300 to 600.

Karen Latimore came to the Food Bank to get what she could. She takes care of a grandchild and shares what she doesn't use with neighbors and friends.

"I think it's amazing. I know back in Berkeley they have a lot of opportunities there, and, she is a wonderful person," said Latimore.

For now, the food bank says people are able to pick up food three times a month, but that might increase as more people are in need.

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WATCH ALSO: How Sacramento restaurants are helping to feed those in need during coronavirus pandemic