February 2, 2016 – Class 45 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program will present Fresno’s Poverello House with a $100,000 donation. The presentation will be held in conjunction with Class 45’s commencement ceremony at Fresno State on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 10:00 a.m. in North Gym, Room 118.

The Poverello House will use the money donated by Class 45 to purchase a food truck which will provide hot meals and fresh produce to rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley. Drawing on their experience in foodservice and resource management, the Poverello House will operate the food truck with the goal of providing free meals to individuals in need.

“Our biggest concern is that not enough rural areas are getting nutritious meals cooked, prepped and served,” said Cruz Avila, executive director, Poverello House. “This is how the concept of the truck came about. We want to reach the ag community and we know we can help them on a bigger level by providing hot nutritious meals.”

The money for the project was donated to Class 45 by individuals and organizations from throughout California.

“The project has been so successful because of the help we received from the agricultural community across the state—it’s a real testament to the generosity of people in agriculture and their willingness to help those who are in need,” said Justin Morehead, Class 45.

The funds remaining after the food truck is purchased and furnished with the kitchen equipment necessary to prepare, cook and serve meals will be used to operate the project until it becomes selfsustaining.

“We’ve fundraised for the upfront cost to get it going and the Poverello House will take on the annual maintenance costs and everything that goes into keeping the truck going,” said Morehead.

In addition to the presentation to the Poverello House, the commencement will include welcome and leadership comments from California State University, Fresno’s president, Dr. Joseph Castro, and a keynote address by Dr. Stephen Randolph, who serves as the historian of the U.S. Department of State. The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation thanks Wells Fargo for its generous support of Class 45’s commencement.

The California Agricultural Leadership Program is an advanced leadership development experience for mid-career agricultural leaders. The commencement will honor the 24 fellows of Class 45 who, over the past 17 months, have studied leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical and strategic thinking, change management, emotional intelligence and complex social and cultural issues.

“We are very proud of Class 45 and congratulate them on their achievements as servant leaders,” said Bob Gray, president and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. “These individuals have already proven their ability to make a difference by assuming leadership roles and helping communities in need.”