White Pony Express sends meals, cash to Paradise fire victims

White Pony Express, the nonprofit organization that collects fresh produce from supermarkets and delivers it to distributors of food to the hungry, has been helping victims of the Camp Fire that destroyed the city of Paradise in Butte County.

Starting last week, White Pony Express, the Pleasant Hill organization that was named the 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year in California Senate District 7, has been sending a refrigerated truck loaded with perishable, ready-to-eat food and envelopes of cash each day, said Steve Spraitzar, spokesperson, in his announcement.

Both the food and the cash are being given to the area’s fire victims, and the daily deliveries will be made until there is no longer an acute need, Spraitzar said. Volunteers and White Pony Express’s Food Rescue Program staff are driving the vans.

White Pony Express volunteers Jim May and Eric Cox drove a van full of food and donations Wednesday to Brownsville, where one person has been putting up 50 evacuees in her motel.

“She fixes food for them in the morning, and the townspeople do it in the evening,” May said. “The ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads that White Pony Express brought were enough to provide them with lunches for several days. In Brownsville, we handed out envelopes of money, which is desperately needed for necessities.”

The ready-to-eat meals are from regular donations to White Pony Express’s food rescue program, Spraitzar said.

Supermarkets, restaurants, farmers markets and others donate quality surplus daily to White Pony Express. Those donations provide a substantial amount of food, which is sorted and delivered to shelters, churches and organizations, such as Loaves and Fishes, that feed the hungry in their communities.

“Going to Oroville, we found people camped out in parking lots,” May said. “Fortunately, we were able to provide food to all of those who need it. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of this.”

“Although we principally serve Contra Costa County, White Pony Express is most grateful to be able to send needed food to the families in the paradise area who are now coping with survival in the aftermath of the fires,” Executive Director Gary Conner said. “It is important that we remember and help serve our brothers and sisters in Paradise, many of whom have lost everything.”

Those interested may visit the website www.whiteponyexpress.org.

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