Governor Approves more Food Bank Funds for Citrus Freeze Victims

February 28, 2007

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has authorized an additional $438,000 to help food banks feed farm workers who were left jobless after a severe January cold snap destroyed more than $1 billion in crops.

The announcement brings to $2.2 million the total amount of emergency funding given to food banks since the freeze to help affected workers.

More than 20,000 field and packing-house workers lost their jobs after five consecutive nights of subfreezing temperatures starting Jan. 12 devastated citrus crops and severely damaged fields of strawberries, leafy greens, cabbage, celery and onions. Nursery plants also were hurt.

“It is crucial that federal, state and local governments continue to do everything possible to assist those people and communities impacted by the freeze to help them recover as quickly as possible,” said Schwarzenegger, who declared a state of emergency in 18 counties and requested federal aid as well.

The governor also has said the state would guarantee $14.2 million in loans to farmers and businesses and called for local agencies to open farm worker housing centers as emergency homeless shelters.

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