Edward Cortez is on disability due to a crippling head injury he suffered in a 1991 motorcycle accident. He says he was in a coma for two weeks and hospitalized for three months. Then he had to learn to walk and talk again.
Cortez, who grew up in Acampo and now lives in Woodbridge, said he was grateful the federal government finally provided food for free in Woodbridge.
"I think it is so gracious; I can hardly believe it," Cortez said, when he came to Woodbridge Missionary Baptist Church on Thursday morning to pick up his care package of food. "The way things are with this recession, it's hard to make ends meet. What a blessing."
In an effort for low-income residents to be able to get food courtesy of the federal government closer to home, San Joaquin County arranged for food to be available in Woodbridge for the first time.
Twenty-two people showed up Thursday morning to pick up paper bags stuffed with chicken, beans, rice, beef stew, tuna, peanut butter, oatmeal, dates and grapefruit juice.
The program is financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Emergency Management Agency and private donations, and is administered by San Joaquin County Aging and Community Services.
"I think it's great for the first time," said Joanne Donadio, who volunteered during Thursday's food distribution.
Paula Soto, who runs the Thornton Community Center and heads the food commodity distribution in that community, helped run the first Woodbridge distribution day.
"I'm always aiming to bring services closer to the people," Soto said.
Woodbridge resident Mary Avanti said she distributed 700 fliers door to door in Woodbridge to inform residents about the food availability.
Woodbridge became the 15th center in San Joaquin County to have food available for the needy. Lodi, Thornton and Lockeford are other north county communities to distribute food on a monthly basis.
Woodbridge food commodities at a glanceLow-income residents may pick up a bagful of food from 10 a.m. to noon on the third Thursday of each month at Woodbridge Missionary Baptist Church, 673 Woodbridge Road at Chestnut and Mokelumne streets.
Participants must bring an empty grocery bag and provide proof, such as a PG&E bill, that they live in Woodbridge. They must also have income levels prescribed by USDA. For example, an individual must earn no more than $16,245 per year, and a family of four is limited to $33,075 annually, according to the San Joaquin County Aging and Community Services Department.
For more information, call 468-3679.
Source: San Joaquin County