A Healthy Hunger-Free Tulare County
Food is medicine, yet nutritious food is out of reach for many low-income families and seniors. Fruits and vegetables are often unaffordable on tight budgets. And fresh produce isn’t readily available in many low-income neighborhoods where grocery stores are sparse.
This gap in nutrition costs our community with high absenteeism from work and school as well as high rates of chronic disease. Chronic illness contributes to worsening food insecurity. It is a vicious cycle. In the one of the most prosperous regions in the world, nobody should become sick due to a lack of consistent access to healthy food. Nobody should have to make a choice between putting food on the table or taking medicine.
That’s why our ground-breaking initiatives aim to bridge the gap between health and anti-hunger relief efforts. Our nutrition program guides our work, including our food purchases. With closer collaboration, we can do even more to improve people’s overall health. We’re looking for your partnership to make it a reality!
FoodLink Tulare County aims to promote equitable and dignified access to nutritious, healthy food while also addressing the root causes of hunger through education, advocacy, and food systems change.
FoodLink is commonly referred to as a nonprofit 510(c)(3), but the organization is more than a tax status. FoodLink is a community benefit which has been providing food since 1978, and is a trusted and vital resource for Tulare County residents.
FoodLink distributes millions of meals annually throughout Tulare County, providing food to pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, schools and agencies to in turn give food to low-income and food insecure seniors, children, individuals and families. Each year FoodLink provides millions of pounds of food and fresh produce to over thousands of vulnerable households in Tulare County. FoodLink not only feeds those who are low income and food insecure; the organization is also at the forefront of new approaches to ending hunger and poverty through nutrition education, advocacy, and food system change.
In 2016, our organization relocated to a facility in Exeter to grow and expand our educational programs. We strive to incorporate food literacy, reclaim our cultural food heritage, and bring together Tulare County residents to learn, grow, cook, and eat nutritious and culturally diverse meals. We advocate for food access while also working with a broader food movement to empower our communities to create a healthier food system.
Programs to support Healthy Students
A community sponsored program that partners with local schools to provide food for students who are at risk for hunger. Each pack contains 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, snacks, and produce. Approximate cost $30/child each month. We are grateful to our corporate sponsors J.D. Heiskell, Nutra-Blend and AgWest who raise funds to sponsor local schools.
Community sponsored program that partners with schools and after-school programs to provide fresh fruits & vegetables, healthy recipes and tasters in schools. Some sites are open for the community, please check with partnering school.
Programs to support Healthy Neighborhoods
Community sponsored program that provides fresh fruits & vegetables, healthy recipes, and tasters in a “farmer’s market” atmosphere in communities with low access to fresh affordable produce.
Partners with local agencies to provide the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), a Federal Program that provides emergency food to low- income individuals. Residents qualify based on income levels. View a map of pantries.
Community and state sponsored program that provides emergency shelf stable food boxes to our local communities in need.
Programs to support a Healthy Food System
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Click on any question below to reveal the answer:
Food Banks acquire large donations of edible but unmarketable food from the food industry and distribute it to organizations that feed hungry and low-income people.
We are not a government agency. FoodLink is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. A volunteer Board of Directors governs the organization. FoodLink employs a dedicated staff and involves thousands of volunteers in its work. Approximately 25% of our operating funds are provided by government sources.
A food bank solicits, stores and distributes large donations of food, donations that a single food pantry could not accept because of a lack of storage capacity at their facility. Food banks feed the needs of hungry people by distributing the donations they receive to a large number of member agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, meal programs, drug treatment centers, and senior care centers.
A food pantry provides three to five-day food packages to those who do not have enough food. These packages are designed to provide nutritionally balanced meals.
Soup kitchens serve walk-ins in need of a hot meal, the only meal of the day for many of them. Most soup kitchens serve a full, balanced meal, and some prepare and deliver meals to the homebound, as well.
FoodLink delivers more than 75% its food to its member agencies. We have a small fleet of trucks that deliver throughout the county. Local agencies also make scheduled visits to our warehouse to pick up allotments of food.
FoodLink is privately funded through a number of revenue sources, including individuals, corporations, foundations, special events and federal, state and county government agencies and grants. The majority of our funding comes from caring individuals like you. Ninety-five percent (95%) of every donation goes towards programs/operations and 5% goes toward administrative costs.
Volunteer opportunities are available in the warehouse and office, as well as for special events and projects. Set up an appointment to take a tour and learn more about our programs.