Local orgs provide Christmas Food Baskets to those in need

Volunteers help to fill food bins for families in need at the P-R Farms packing house on Willow and Shepherd Avenues. (photos courtesy of Clovis Rotary Club)

The Clovis Rotary Club and Clovis Police Officers Association (C.P.O.A) have come together this cold winter to provide Christmas Food Baskets for families in need as a way to warm their holiday spirits.

The beauty of this 32-year tradition is that it involves a team of active affiliates within the Clovis community who share a common desire to give back to those in need during the Christmas holiday.

“The community supports the police department’s overwhelming atrocities, so it feels good to give back to those who may need a little extra help over the holidays,” said Officer Seth Sobel, a member of C.P.O.A. “We’re happy to do it.”

The initial process starts with local Clovis schools such as Clovis High, Buchanan High, Alta Sierra Intermediate, Gateway High and Copper River Elementary who all make an effort to bring awareness to the cause. They do this by asking for donations from their fellow peers to help fill these food bins as a way to contribute towards the Christmas Food Baskets. In these baskets families will receive a wide arrangement of canned foods (beans, fruits and veggies), dry food, (pasta and rice), as well as milk, flour, sugar and frozen turkey.

“Those who need help receive it and the students in the BHS Interact Club get a sense of pride in helping others in need and feel good about themselves for being a part of something bigger than just their own lives,” said Sarah Santini, a teacher and Advisor of Buchanan’s Interact Club.

In addition, both the Clovis Rotary Club and Clovis Police Officers Association personally donated some money on top of what was already collected as a way to extend the offer. Places like Walmart discounted and ordered many groceries. Mi Rancho and La Tapatia helped supply all of the tortillas and P-R Farms contributed the produce for the baskets.

As the time gets closer to preparing and delivering the baskets, Clovis Recycling and Budget Truck in Clovis generously provide transportation for the food goods to be picked up by Clovis Rotarians and transported to the P-R Farms packing facility where the food is then sorted. This is when Interact Club students from the different high schools donate their time on a Saturday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 18 to prepare, organize and fill the baskets – yet another vital and significant role where the high schools are heavily involved in taking part. 

“What once only fed 20 families is now feeding 500,” said Bob Althoff of Clovis Rotary. “I give 100 (Christmas Food Baskets) to Clovis Unified School District involved in the donation, and then I give 200 over to the Salvation Army who distributes them to families. I also give 50 over to the Food Cupboard and 50 goes to the Rotary.”

Pat Ricchiuti, president of P-R Farms, once again graciously offered his facility for the Interact Students and volunteers to have a space big enough to assemble the boxes of food to better accommodate the hundreds of families receiving the assistance.

“This is such a fun experience for everyone,” Santini says, “Everyone Wins!”