Viewers called, texted and wrote checks to the tune of more than $230,000 Friday night for CBS Local 2's fourth FIND Food Bank Telethon.
This total bests previous years by almost $50,000, even without a dollar-for-dollar match by Kraft.
"Kraft really made a huge difference in people's donations because $1 equaled 14 meals during the match," said FIND Food Bank CEO Lisa Houston. "This was a huge success. And the best part is how it ripples down to benefit over 100 agencies - our partners."
Indio's FIND Food Bank works with agencies throughout the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire to provide food year-round to an average of 80,000 people every month. Partner agencies include Well in the Desert, Joslyn Senior Center and Catholic Charities. FIND also works with distribution partners to provide meals during the summertime for children who often rely on free or reduced-price meals at school during the school year.
"CBS Local 2 is honored to be part of this great community initiative," said Mike Stutz, General Manager of CBS Local 2's parent company Gulf-California Broadcast. "We thank all of our viewers for their generous response."
CBS Local 2's Brooke Beare hosted the telethon from the FIND warehouse in Indio, while CBS Local 2's Kris Long manned the phone bank provided by Agua Caliente Casino & Spa in Rancho Mirage. Guest phone-bankers, including local officials, took calls from hundreds over the six hours of the broadcast.
April is Hunger Action Month across the country, and Houston said, "Our community needs to stay engaged because hunger is 365 days a year."
Hundreds of volunteers filled up the FIND warehouse during the Telethon Friday to help sort more than 28 tons of fresh produce, dry and canned goods to go to homebound seniors, food pantries and other emergency outreach programs.
"Our hard-working volunteers are just as important as our donors who gave of their finances," Houston explained. "Thank you all, but please don't forget this is an ongoing problem. We are working very hard to help lift our community up and find ways to create sustainability. Our door is open and we are always looking for new and improved ways."
To contribute to FIND Food bank, go to www.findfoodbank.org