STOCKTON, Calif. — The Emergency Food Bank of Stockton and San Joaquin County has seen demand surge by 60 – 70% during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, local sports organizations are working together to make sure the food bank is stocked.
The Stockton Ports, the Stockton Kings, the Stockton Heat and the University of the Pacific are conducting Stockton Sports Unite Food Drives the first three Fridays in May.
“This Friday, May 1st, we’ll be at the Stockton Ballpark, home of the Stockton Ports and we’ll be there from 10-1,” explained Wes Rhea, CEO of Visit Stockton. “The demand has been high and we have a lot of our people that have been kind of on the bubble that are not working right now. And so this is a great opportunity for us to help the food bank get more food out into the community.”
Pat Filippone, President of the Stockton Ports, said he’s happy the team is throwing their support behind the cause.
“It’s something we like to do, want to do, should do to benefit those in the community who have had a tougher time than we have.”
Filippone acknowledged it’s a strange time for all with sports being offline right now.
“I think when you peel everything back, sports is the great unifier, as we’ve all seen with missing sports now,” explained Filippone. “We can activate and engage our patrons and the people who are passionate about our sports, and even, and get them involved and rally them together to benefit the community and those less fortunate in the community.”
Rhea said those who want to donate but are concerned about safety don’t need to worry.
“We’ll be watching all of our social distancing protocols,” explained Rhea. “We’ll have gloves and masks. And we’ll take it out of your trunk. You can just walk up. You don’t even have to roll down a window. You can just pop your trunk. We’ll just go into your back seat. And also if you can’t get through, we’ll be taking cash and check donations on-site directly to the emergency food bank. So we’ll definitely make sure everything is safe. We’re going to make it as easy as possible for everybody who wishes to donate.”
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Renowned chef Alice Waters partners with Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs to donate thousands of pounds of produce to local food banks during the coronavirus pandemic.