Food bank aids families with a child enrolled in Rialto Unified

Rialto food bank
IECN photo Marina Rojas: Volunteers Olivia Stryjewski and Kathy Holm at the Rialto Child Assistance Food Bank encourage families to apply for the program today.
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The Rialto Child Assistance Food Bank (RCAFB) is looking for families in need of some extra help in making ends meet when it comes to family meals.

Located at the Rialto Community Center at 214 North Palm in Room 301, the RCAFB serves the students of the Rialto Unified School District by providing general grocery items every first and third Thursday of the month from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Mondays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. qualified families can pick up pizza and chicken, donated from Rialto Pizza Huts and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.

Recipients must have a student attending the Rialto Unified School District and be income eligible.  There is an application process in which the family must show proof of residency, verify their income and have the principal of their child’s school sign a form verifying their attendance.  At that point, the family is issued an ID card that allows them to take advantage of the RCAFB’s offerings.

Olivia Stryjewski, a volunteer with the RCAFB for about a year-and-a-half explained how the food bank rotates the available food supply by expiration date.  Stryjewski retired from the Rialto Unified School District and volunteers at the Food Bank a few days each month helping to sort the canned goods and non-perishable items available to the families.

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Another volunteer, Kathy Holm, explained that the program is run solely by local volunteers made up of various service organizations, church groups, teachers, and other staff of the Rialto Unified School District.

“We are helped greatly by the Rialto Kiwanis, the Lions Club, Rotary and the Rialto Women’s Club,” said Holm. “We get several missionaries from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints that come to help.  Donations are made to the Food Bank by Grace Lutheran Church, United Methodist and St. Peters Episcopal Church, too.”

Holm had retired from the Rialto Unified School District five years ago and had learned during those years of how the Food Bank was helping local families.  She decided to help out as a way of giving back to the community.

Rialto resident Maria Lopez dropped by with her daughter to pick up some pizza and sorted through surplus canned goods, taking what she wanted for her family.

“This is a really good resource,” said Lopez, “I found out about this place kind of randomly.  I was walking by around Thanksgiving a year or so ago and saw families receiving turkeys.  When I asked about it, they told me to put in an application for my family.  I’ve been coming here when we can use a little extra help ever since then.”

“We know that there are more families in need out there,” said Holm, “and we know that sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, but if you live in Rialto, even if you’re homeless or going from place to place, as long as you have a student in a Rialto school, we’re here to help.  We don’t want anyone going hungry in our city.”

Families interested in applying for the Rialto Child Assistance Food Bank can call them at 909-875-0141.

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