Coachella Valley Spotlight

H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation surprises St. Margaret's Episcopal Church with $10,000

H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation...

PALM DESERT, Calif. - St. Margaret's Episcopal Church wasn't expecting to be $10,000 richer, but that's exactly what happened when the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation showed up with a surprise grant.

"This was a big surprise. It's tough for people to get surprises over on me. This was a big one," said Chet Hecht, the outreach director.

Hecht said the money will go towards their Neighbors 4 Neighbors program, which feeds families throughout the Coachella Valley.

"There's no judgment here. You come here and you're willing to come here cause you need help. And that's what we're gonna do," Hecht said.

Clarence Wrightnour and his wife Wendy are one of those families.

"There's some months where we wouldn't make it if we didn't have the help from here. Sometimes you can stretch the money we get from the state and sometimes you can't. And having the help from here makes a big difference," Wendy Wrightnour said.

The Wrightnour's kids are paying it forward, volunteering for the program.

"Helping people get the items in the cars and this is something they wanted to do," Clarence Wrightnour said.

Families going home with a cartload of items.

"We have a base bag that's got rice, it's got milk, it's got canned goods, it's got beans, bread. They get a veggie bag and a USDA bag. It's about 30 to 40 pounds of food," Hecht said.

Hecht said this $10,000 check is a huge boost for the program.

"We are feeding just under a thousand people each week. We need to make sure we have the food and the second thing is we have to make sure we keep the food cold. We need a walk-in freezer bigger refrigerators that we can just put the food in to keep it cold before it goes to the families," Hecht said.

He said the number of families needing help has grown since they started the program 14 years ago. Hecht said families like the Wrightnours shouldn't have to choose between paying their bills or putting food on the table.

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