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Grant Will Aid Food Distribution
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Free food distributions to the poor will be getting a financial boost through the City of Riverbank.

Following protests at a recent council meeting that local charitable groups like Christian Food Sharing could not buy commodities from food banks at the cheapest rate because the city had never sought the subsidy, the latest application for a Community Development Block Grant will seek not only $330,000 for home ownership assistance but $40,000 as a set aside for public services.

Riverbank's Economic Development and Housing director Tim Ogden made this recommendation in his staff report to the City Council on Monday night.

The $40,000 will be used to draw down the price for non-profit groups such as Christian Food Sharing, Assembly of God Church and St. Vincent De Paul of the St. Frances Catholic Church, all of which run food distributions for low-income residents.

Charles Neal of the Assembly of God protested that Riverbank was specifically excluded from the written list of non-profits to whom the food bank Second Harvest in Manteca would sell at discount rates. Christian Food Sharing vice president Yolanda Guider and St. Vincent de Paul's representative Scott McRitchie made similar complaints.

Under the guidance of former Economic Development Director Margaret Silveira, the city applied for and won large grants to assist local homebuyers with loans, according to Ogden. But it is now time to consider the needs of non-profit groups furnishing food to low-income families and seek their rightful share as allowed in the law.

Christian Food Sharing President Bernice Bick commented the group is serving close to double the number of families it did last year at its Friday distributions and any additional funds or lower prices for food will be helpful.