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Fresno County Gets National Recognition for Poverello House Project
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By Anya Ellis, Berkeley Correspondent
Published 1 month ago on
June 15, 2024

Fresno County received a national award for its help in the Poverello House kitchen renovation. The county provided a $2.5 million grant. (GV Wire Composite)

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Fresno County has received a 2024 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for its help in the Poverello House kitchen renovation.

The 30-year-old kitchen needed renovation to meet the high demand of more than 1 million meals a year.

This award recognizes and honors effective county government programs that improve services assisting their community.

Poverello House, founded in the 1970s by “Papa Mike” Garvin, a man who began serving sandwiches out of his car to anyone in need, is dedicated to providing free meals to those experiencing homelessness or food insecurity. It is the first no-cost restaurant for those in need in California.

The COVID-19 pandemic heightened food insecurity in Fresno County, forcing the Poverello House to increase the daily meal output by about 200 to 300 meals. The 30-year-old kitchen needed renovation to meet the high demand of more than 1 million meals a year.

County’s $2.5 Million Grant Goes to Renovating Kitchen

Last year, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a grant of $2.5 million to aid the Poverello House in rebuilding their kitchen, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

“This award from NACo rewards the vision of the Board of Supervisors to mitigate food insecurity, recognizes the hard work from those in the CAO office to expedite this APPA alloration and acknowledges the Special Accounting Team in the Auditor-Controller’s department for ensuring compliance with Treasury requirements,” states County Administrative Officer Paul Nerland.

Launched in 1970, NACo’s Achievement Awards aim to recognize and celebrate outstanding programs in 18 categories that align with the multitude of services counties provide. Each nominee program is evaluated on its own merit rather than against other applications, creating a non-competitive and inclusive award program.

“The Achievement Awards recognize excellence in county government and effective public service,” said NACo President Mary Jo McGuire. “This year’s winners have delivered results for our residents and demonstrated innovative efforts to strengthen our communities.”

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Anya Ellis,
Reporter/Researcher
Anya Ellis began working for GV Wire in July 2023. The daughter of journalists, Anya is a Fresno native and Buchanan High School graduate. She is currently at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in film and media studies and minoring in creative writing. She plans to pursue her masters in screenwriting after graduating. You can contact Anya at anya.ellis@gvwire.com.

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