CALEXICO — The Imperial Regional Detention Facility (IRDF) started a new initiative to help the Imperial Valley Food Bank fight hunger at a community distribution event last month on May 21. Both organizations were joined by members of the National Guard in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to hand out food items to a strong turnout.

“This is a monthly distribution that we have all around Imperial County every month, we serve thousands of individuals each month,” said Marketing and Communications Manager for Imperial Valley Food Bank Stephanie Campos. 

The Imperial Valley Food Bank holds regular food distributions, but this was the first time they have collaborated with IRDF, said Campos.

“We are very appreciative that they were part of our distribution. We have so many people in our community that need help and just having a different agency join us is something that makes us feel very appreciated here in the Valley,” said Programs Manager for Imperial Valley Food Bank Alba Sanchez. 

According to Community Relations Manager for IRDF Melissa Peralta-Villalobos, the partnership with Imperial Valley Food Bank is part of a new mission to help fight hunger in the community.

“They have a few here in Calexico, so we were like ‘let us know so we can come out and help,’” said Peralta-Villalobos. 

Peralta-Villalobos said the Managing and Training Corporation (MTC) for IRDF is getting involved in the community to commemorate their 40th anniversary. The IRDF will once again partner with Imperial Valley Food Bank for another Food Drive on a yet to be announced date in the near future and are currently assisting the Food Bank on an ongoing project to help feed children said Peralta-Villalobos.

“They have a program where they provide backpacks for kids at school. They basically just fill these backpacks with snacks and food items that the kids can open and eat. There’s a lot of kids that get their main meals at school and whenever they go home on the weekend, they don’t have a lot of food to eat,” said Peralta-Villalobos. 

According to the Imperial Valley Food Bank, it costs $180 to sponsor a child and give them a backpack every weekend.

The IRDF will donate cash from their facility and is also working to raise funds by selling chicken plates cooked by Pollos MI Pollos restaurant to their staff but also to the general public. For anyone wanting to sponsor a child, they can purchase a chicken plate until the end of the month, according to Peralta-Villalobos. 

“It’s important to fight hunger for everyone but for kids, it’s just harder to,” said Peralta-Villalobos. 

The Imperial Valley Food Bank said if any other organizations would like to help out and fight hunger they can reach out to their office. 

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