NATOMAS - A local food bank in Natomas is playing a big role in that community this holiday season. Joey's Food Locker is not only helping feed those in need but also preparing volunteers for the real world.
In less than 10 years, Joey's Food Locker has gone from a small-time food pantry to a major community lifeline.
"We've actually grown by almost every year by 100 families," said Osvaldo Ortiz, the store manager.
on CBS13 during the pandemic. Years later, pandemic fears may have faded, but the need hasn't. And the holidays are especially tough for local families.
"We're seeing every year the need growing with inflation," Ortiz said. "We've been seeing higher rates of refugees coming here; Russian, Ukrainian, Afghani refugees."
To help, dozens of students in Natomas Unified pitched in. They also get help from people like Jaylin Moore-Barbee, who is a part of the adult transition program with Natomas Unified.
"It's fun here," Moore-Barbee said. "I really like it here."
The adult transition program with Natomas Unified is meant to help those with special needs prepare for the real world. Moore-Barbee wants to be a baker.
"It's really good because I'm getting the experience of how to work with others and working nice to other people that I don't know," Moore-Barbee said.
"I want them to see the need in the community so they can see that they're helping people from their own neighborhoods, from their own apartment complexes. They're helping their peers," Ortiz said.
They hope those who see this will remember those in need during this time of giving.
"When the people come to us or we come to them we see we're changing their lives by helping out and giving them food," Moore-Barbee said.
Joey's Food Locker is always looking for donations and volunteers. To learn more, click here.
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