Pantry volunteers supply the manpower to fill bags with specific food items, in partnership with Holiday Market’s Best Wishes program, to provide food assistance to residents during the holiday season. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Best Wishes program feeds the hungry

Helping Hands, Almanor Basin Food Pantry and the Chester Wellness and Family Resource Center consist of caring community members who work in partnership with Holiday Market in Chester through its Best Wishes program, to provide food assistance to residents during the holiday season.

A number of families and low wage earners in the Basin Area must look to outside organizations for help with their food needs.

With the assistance of pantry volunteers supplying the manpower to fill bags with specific food items, Holiday Market asks for a $5 donation per bag from shoppers who make a purchase, but then donate the food, which is distributed back to the food pantries.

This is the market’s fourth year sponsoring its Best Wishes program, which runs through the month of November and ends Dec. 2.

Last year alone saw over 1,000 bags sold. This year the goal is to see a minimum purchase of 2,026 bags. Bags contain food items that include rice, peanut butter, soup, mac & cheese and green beans.

Several local businesses have agreed to match one day’s worth of sales in matching monetary funds to help meet this goal and provide for additional pantry food purchases.

Businesses that wish to make matching contributions will have their names printed on fliers attached to each food bag. Businesses will also have their names mentioned on Community TV, including in-store radio announcements on specified days, letting customers know that your business is a matching sponsor.

Last year, the Best Wishes program placed over 10,000 pounds of food items into local pantries, according to Joy Newell, Holiday Market assistant manager.

Holiday Market staff and pantry volunteers all expressed gratitude for the kindness and generosity of the local community, which has always responded positively to the program. Food bank board members also offered appreciation for the partnership they have with Holiday Market.

For more information, or for businesses that wish to participate as a matching donor, email Emily Rice, Holiday Market store manager, at [email protected].

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