By Alexandria T. Montes | Reporter
California Community Network, a nonprofit organization in Clovis, will be giving back to the community this holiday season as it will be partnering with churches and local business to bring hope to those in need.
“Faith is a huge cornerstone of who I am and I want to actually practice what I believe,” said CCN chairman Aaron Perry. “I don’t want to be a Christian by name or because my Facebook says. Actions speak louder than words.”
Perry said that in Fresno County alone there are 100,000 at risk of going hungry this holiday season, 80,000 of which are children. Thanks to the organization and their partnerships with Shalom House Ministries, Cole Elementary will be receiving whole entire Thanksgiving dinners on Nov. 18 to help the kids and their families enjoy their holiday, and the following day, they will be reaching out to the community around the church.
The California Community Network’s mission is to feed, clothe, care and comfort those who are trying rebuild their broken lives and broken homes. This includes walking with the addicted to help lead them to recovery, and to show the life-changing effects of love behind their beliefs. Whether it is California’s Community Network or and an existing organization, Perry will be donating food and clothing to help enrich and support those programs as well.
“It’s about being able to give them hope,” Perry said. “And knowing I’m committed to not just hoping it gets better, but that I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure that it does get better.”
Humbled by his own personal experiences, Aaron made it his mission to help those in need by reaching out and connecting with other churches and organizations in the community. After spending lots of time volunteering at various food church pantries, he noticed that most of the foods being given out were high processed, had lots of sugar and salt and were foods with a long shelf life.
“If that is all you’re eating all the time it can lead to multiple chronic medical problems which can cost so much – to a lot of the tax payers too – because a lot of the people who are receiving these packages have supplemental insurance by either the federal or state,” Perry said.
Perry continued his mission by looking for particular pantries that were giving out more than canned, high-processed food, but pantries that were giving produce and dairy. After researching and collecting some of the boxes given to these people in need, he took a look inside and was appalled by what he discovered.
“Some of them actually had mold and some of the canned goods were even 3-4 years passed the expiration dates,” he said.
That’s when his desire to change and find better resources to help the community began. Many in which he found already had their own system in place to help, but Perry said he saw no change. This is when he came up with the idea to impact the community by starting a faith-based food pantry.
Director of Hunger To Hope, Allan Kozak will partner with Perry and grocery chains like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to provide several families with food this Thanksgiving holiday. Churches and schools will give them lists of families who are in great need of help.
“Clovis is a little overlooked – there are so many homeless and so many hurting here that need this type of thing,” Kozak said. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive and it is such an honor and privilege to serve in this community.”