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President of Sunrise Christian Food Ministry retires after 13 years

Rocky Peterson speaks in a video aired during the Citrus Heights City Council’s Nov. 10, 2022, meeting.

By Mike Hazlip—
For more than a decade, Rocky Peterson served the community of Citrus Heights through his role as president of the board of Sunrise Christian Food Ministry. Now he’s passing on the reins.

Peterson was joined by community members to receive an official proclamation in an appearance before the City Council during the Nov. 10 meeting. The council recognized Peterson for his efforts to shape the Sunrise Christian Food Ministry into an organization that serves more than 120 families each day, and thousands every year.

Councilman Steve Miller read the proclamation aloud during the meeting, calling Peterson an “extremely patient person, wise, and very respected leader of the Citrus Heights faith community.”

Rosie Cerna, Community engagement manager for Sacramento Food Bank, spoke at the meeting saying she had seen Sunrise Christian Food Ministry grow under Peterson’s leadership.

“The operation at Sunrise Christian always amazes me,” Cerna said. “Rocky has been on the forefront of innovation for pantries. He set the bar to a level that it has not been set prior to Sunrise Christian coming in.”

Cerna said Sunrise Christian Food Ministry is in the top five food banks out of 122 agencies that are a part of Sacramento Food Bank’s network.

April Jacek, director of operations at the local food bank, also spoke at the meeting saying Peterson treated individuals with dignity throughout his tenure.

Peterson thanked the council and members of the community for their support, saying the needs of the community are growing.

“We talk about homeless, are people who are living in their cars or living on someone’s couch, or don’t know where they are going to be living. We’re happy to serve those, we don’t have any judgement against people, we have a desire to serve,” Peterson said before the small audience of community members who gave him a standing ovation.

Councilman Bret Daniels estimated the Sunrise Christian Food Ministry has served about 10 million pounds of food over the 13 years that Peterson has served as president.

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins called Peterson a “true leader” saying he is leaving the organization in good hands and has positioned it to move forward after his departure.

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