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DOT Foods donates $5,000 in groceries to food bank at St. Jude's Catholic Church
• Needy families will benefit from company’s gift
DOT Foods delivery
Delivering $5,000 worth of donated food to the Ceres food bank operated at St. Jude’s Catholic Church were: (standing left to right), DOT Foods employees Jeff Blunt, Jeremy Bundy and Caroline Blevins; St. Vincent De Paul’s Society volunteer Mabel Borges Gomes; DOT general manager David Bigelow and employees Jeff Blake, Tori Salemi, Patricia Marshall and Dave Gulcynski; and Frank Gomes of St Jude’s. In the truck are: Sergio Morales, Chris Marshall and Larry Baca, all DOT Foods workers. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Five thousand dollars’ worth of free food items were delivered Friday to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Jude’s Catholic Church which will go to feed needy families in Ceres.

The donation was made by the Dot Foods California distribution center just outside of Ceres on Nickerson Way through its Neighbor-to-Neighbor program to help fight hunger. Eleven DOT employees took a break from their regular jobs to make the delivery.

The distribution center invited six local food pantries to select $5,000 worth of products from Dot’s inventory for a combined donation of $30,000 worth of food. Recipients also included Interfaith Ministries of Modesto, Modesto Gospel Mission, Oakdale Community Sharing Christian Center, St. Vincent De Paul of St. Anthony’s of Manteca and Good Samaritan Training Center of Stockton.

“We do it at all of our distribution centers across the country,” said David Bigelow, general manager of the DOT facility just outside the Ceres city limits. “It’s a chance for us to partner with the local food banks and food pantries in our area. They can order from our selection of what we offer to stock their pantries and then we’ll make the deliveries. It’s something we’ve done annually for the six years.”

On a regular basis DOT Foods also donates surplus items to the larger food banks which have a higher rate of distributions.

“Really, this kind of fits with our family values,” said Bigelow. “We’re a family owned company – have been for 60 years – so it fits with the charitable giving and the community involvement of the Tracy family that founded DOT Foods. It’s nice to be a part of that and help out the community where we can.”

Mabel Borges Gomes of the St. Vincent De Paul Society of St. Jude’s said the food was a blessing.

“This is a huge gift for us because now we can use our dollars to go a little bit further from the donations we get,” she said. “Every week when we go to buy groceries … we’re discovering the prices going up. We’re buying less and, of course, we have to give less.”

The food donated last week will also help the parish supplement Christmas food baskets.

Her husband, Frank Gomes, was especially grateful to see a pallet of beans arrive as they are in great demand by families served at the Ceres site on Mitchell Road.

Both DOT employees and the Borges’s noticed that $5,000 worth of food didn’t seem as much as last year.

“Food is getting higher and higher,” said Frank, who noted how his pantry has to shop at several different sources for lowest prices. He noted that a 20-pound sack of beans is now $25.

The Ceres charity volunteers also pick up food at Second Harvest in Manteca and shop at Costco and Cost Less Foods which offer discounts.

St. Vincent DePaul Society of Ceres distributes food to needy families every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Amounts of food given depends on family size. The distribution last week saw 22 families showing up.

The numbers of people served at St. Jude’s would be higher, said Frank, if it wasn’t for the other food pantries in Ceres. They include Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church and Valley Christian Center

Since March 2020, Dot Foods, Inc., the largest food industry redistributor in North America, has donated millions of dollars’ worth of food to organizations across the nation.

DOT foods handoff
David Bigelow, general manager of the DOT facility near Ceres unloads cans of soup and hands them off to Dave Gulcynski. - photo by Jeff Benziger