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Food Cupboard Shelves Get Needed Winter Boost
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Escalon Transit Coordinator John Andoh, left, was among the crew at the Stuff the Bus effort outside MarVal on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20. Donations benefit the C.A.R.E. Center, with Director Sherrie Vaden, center, unloading some food donations while volunteer Cindy Maldonado, back, waits to add more bags to the cart. Marg Jackson/The Times

Over a two-day, 10-hour period, five hours each day, area residents made sure there will be food for those in need, helping stock the shelves at the Escalon C.A.R.E. Center on Second Street.

It was the annual Stuff the Bus food drive, hosted by San Joaquin Regional Transit District, in cooperation with local agencies. In Escalon, the Community Action Resources of Escalon, C.A.R.E., operates the food cupboard and several food programs to help those who may be food insecure. The holiday-themed food drive sought donations specifically for Thanksgiving dinners, including 10 to 12-pound turkeys, canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing mixes, instant mashed potatoes, as well as staples such as flour and sugar.

C.A.R.E. Director Sherrie Vaden, on hand for the Stuff the Bus collection, said donors were being generous and she felt the drive was definitely a success. Escalon Transit Coordinator John Andoh also helped out as did C.A.R.E. volunteer Cindy Maldonado, among those staffing the collection table outside MarVal.

Final totals of the pounds collected were not available as of presstime Monday, but several bags of groceries were stacked in seats and on the floor of the Escalon transit bus.

The food collection effort was hosted at MarVal Main Street Market, 1900 McHenry Ave., on Friday, Nov. 19 and Saturday, Nov. 20 from noon to 5 p.m. each day. C.A.R.E. helps meet emergency food needs for residents in Escalon, Farmington and Collegeville.

Open Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. a bag of food is provided free each week for those in the area who need food and whose income meets the federal guidelines. Federal commodities are also distributed once a month, the third Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and that week there is no Wednesday distribution.

An added program for senior citizens is the Brown Bag bi-monthly program the second and fourth Tuesday (after the first Monday) from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; designed for seniors 60 and older on a fixed income within the guidelines. A bag of food is provided at an annual cost of $12, so it is $1 per month for the twice monthly bag of food.

On the second Tuesday of the month, 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Second Harvest Mobile Farmers Market distributes fresh fruits and vegetables.

C.A.R.E. is at 1601 Second St., Escalon, and more information is available on the website,

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Residents brought in a variety of foods, all designed to help local families have a good meal this Thanksgiving, with the annual Stuff the Bus drive for the Escalon food cupboard. The goal was to ‘stuff’ the Escalon transit bus. Marg Jackson/The Times