Valley Feeding Project ensures ‘no senior citizen goes without a meal’ this Thanksgiving

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OILDALE, Calif. (KGET) – It has been a rough couple of months for the Valley Feeding Project after a fire ripped thru their warehouse in August, a place where they welcomed anyone facing food insecurity.  Through it all, the mission remains steadfast as they provide meals for the elderly in our community this holiday season all while rebuilding from the ashes.

“It means everything,” said Co-Director Julie Walsh.  “It means everything for the seniors, they need someone to take care of them.”

The fire took what used to be Valley Feeding Project, but it did not burn down Julie Walsh’s willingness to continue the tradition of delivering Thanksgiving ingredients to Bakersfield senior citizens.

The 11-year tradition is made possible by the generosity of Albertson’s shoppers. 5 Bakersfield area Albertson’s stores have been participating in the campaign. Over $36,000 has been raised since the start and over 1,200 meals have been secured this year.

“Everything stays locally,” said Kim Moreno, store director of the Albertson’s on White Lane. “It is a good feeling to know that we are helping out the seniors locally.”

This labor of love has withstood the test of time, but it almost didn’t withstand the delays in the global supply chain. Albertson’s store director, Ron Sousa, had to get creative on how they would get the much-needed foods.

“There is a protein shortage,” said Sousa.  “Which means it’s hard to get regular-sized turkeys, regular-sized hams, and some red meat but it worked out better because we were able to get the smaller turkey, they are boneless and much easier to cook for the seniors.”

Brown paper grocery bags are now stuffed with everything from cans of vegetables and cranberry sauce, boxes of stuffing, and even frozen turkey breasts.  Ready to be delivered to various senior citizen homes and those that depend on meals delivered to their doorstep.

“We have a lot of shut-ins,” said Walsh.   “We have a list of people, some of them cry, some of them are overwhelmed with happiness and thankfulness, that generation needs to be taken care of.”

Valley Feeding Project is now preparing for their next project where ‘hunger bags’ are delivered to those that are in need.  Donations are highly encouraged at participating Albertson’s locations and if you would like to get involved you can email Julie Walsh at valleyfeeding@yahoo.com.

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