County Realtors kick off annual Charity Fundraiser

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Publisher
June 15, 2017

Each year, the Merced County Realtors Association contributes thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations which help care for the local needy.
Last year, that amounted to at total of $37,125.
Last week, the Realtors kicked off this year’s Charity Fundraiser at the weekly meeting, and it looks like another banner year. The Realtors have selected four very worthy groups to give contributions to. They are: The Food Bank, The Salvation Army, The Rescue Mission and the Boys and Girls Club.
One of the largest donations goes to the Food Bank which supplies food at greatly reduced cost to over a dozen other organizations which are directly in contact with the needy.
Bill Gibbs, the CEO of the Food Bank for Merced and Mariposa Counties, was the guest speaker at last week’s meeting and he was introduced by Stephanie Jackson, the chairman of this year’s fundraising.
Gibbs is relatively new as the head of the local Food Bank and he has already made several innovative changes in the organization. He told the Realtors: “Twenty three thousand people in our area don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
Coming from the northern part of Appalachia, Gibbs compared the situation in Merced County to what is usually considered the worse poverty of the United States. Of the two places, “We are worst than Appalachia”
He said the Food Bank last year distributed 6.5 million pounds of food. “I have never seen an organization (The Food Bank) which can stretch a dollar as far as the Food Bank,” said Gibbs.
Gibbs said $1 can provide four meals for the needy using the Food Bank’s buying power.
This year the number one focus of the Food Bank is to see that kids have enough to eat; however, the Food Bank is involved in so many programs such as the Senior Brown Bag program. This year, for the first time, they will begin a Gleening program where they get fruits and vegetables for free after the initial harvest.
There are over 3,500 volunteers working with the Food Bank to make it possible. Gibbs said it would not be possible to do the job without them.
After thanking Gibbs for being the guest speaker, Jackson said this year there is already a commitment from Mike Salvadori of Salvadori Realty to donate $10,000 when the members of the Merced County Board of Realtors raise $30,000 for the needy. The Realtors are already well on their way to doing that and have over $6,000 in donations with more coming in daily.
Those wishing to join in the Charity Fundraising can call Jackson at 209-383-6475, or Joe Stefani at 383-3733.


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