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Food drive in Citrus Heights called a ‘huge success’

Cars line up for a “drive-thru” food drive in Citrus Heights outside Advent Lutheran Church on March 28. // CH Sentinel

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Sentinel staff report–
More than 350 cars drove through the parking lot of Advent Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday, dropping off food to help re-stock critically low supplies at a local food closet.

“This is a huge success,” said Sunrise Christian Food Ministry volunteer and spokesman Dustin DeVriend, who said this was the first time the local food closet has hosted a drive-through food drive. “The community response has been phenomenal.”

DeVriend, who also serves as assistant pastor at Christ Community Church, said more than 15 pallets worth of food were donated, including “tons of fresh fruits,” dry goods, cans and other items.

“I think we’re just seeing everybody’s generosity, who, after being cooped up for the past two weeks [were] looking for a way to serve the city,” he said.

All together, organizers reported that the two-hour food drive brought in enough to stock the food closet with a week-and-a-half’s worth of supplies. In posts on social media earlier in the week, the local food ministry put out an urgent call for help, noting that it only had 1-2 days of food on hand.

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As reported by The Sentinel on Thursday, Rocky Peterson, director of the local food closet, said he’s seen a “significant increase in demand for food for hurting families” recently, with nearly twice the number of families coming each day for supplies. He said an average day used to see 75-80 families served, while that has now increased to 120-130 families.

According to the ministry’s website, Sunrise Christian Food Ministry was founded in 1983 and is an ecumenical effort supported by several dozen churches, organizations and individuals. The organization’s mission is “to provide five days of nutritionally balanced food supplies to each person every 30 days when an emergency occurs.”

The food closet’s posted hours are 11:30 a.m to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, but Peterson said the closet has recently been opening around 10 a.m. to keep up with demand. Donations can be dropped off anytime the closet is open during weekdays.

Peterson said Sunrise Christian Food Ministry is open to those in need anywhere in Sacramento County. He said recipients are asked for a picture ID and a current piece of mail for demographic purposes.

The food closet is located behind Advent Lutheran Church, at 5901 San Juan Ave. Additional information is posted at sunrisechristianfoodministry.org.

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