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United Samaritans stay focused on mission even with rising costs
emergecny food pic
The United Samaritan's Foundation feeds more than 1,500 people a day through its daily food trucks and food boxes. - photo by Journal file photo

Based out of Hughson and Turlock, the local nonprofit organization United Samaritans make over 58 stops in Stanislaus County serving more than 1,500 free meals a day to those in need and organizers are learning how to stretch the money even further as the cost of food and gas takes a toll on the organization.

“We are planning ahead and working hard to try and balance it all to the best of our abilities,” Executive Director Linda Murphy expressed.

With the drastic inflation of products, their money spent on food went up 40% while their gas budget went from $80 to $85 every other day to $160 every other day for multiple trucks.

About 90% of stops are planned based around incoming calls from local apartment complexes and community centers that are occupied with people, but mainly elderly, in need of food or basic supplies.

The organization currently goes out around the county five days a week, with possibilities of having to go down to three or four days due to a decrease in funding and supplies.

“The rising cost of food is affecting us harshly, but we are currently maintaining thanks to donations and grants,” Murphy stated.

They are in constant need for donations from funding to food. Donations can be dropped off at the Turlock center at 220 South Broadway or the Hughson center at 2413 3rd St.

Some specifics that are needed are bottled water, cereals, peanut butter, jam, canned beans, meats, fruit, and empty egg cartons.

United Samaritans make a total of 15 stops in the Turlock area from 11:30 a.m. until 3:25 p.m.; 15 stops in the Keyes/Ceres area from 11:40 a.m. until 3:25 p.m.; 10 stops in the Modesto area from 11:20 a.m. until 2 p.m.; 13 stops in the Hughson/Empire/Waterford/Denair area from 11:35 a.m. until 2:50 p.m.; and five stops in the Patterson/Grayson/Newman area from 10:30 a.m. until 1:20 p.m.

Volunteers are constantly needed with spots available from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. for cooks, prep, and loading up the trucks. A few spots are available for afternoon shifts to go out with the delivery but fill up fast. All volunteers with interest in helping can call the Turlock office at (209) 668-4853 or email or

On the website, there are categories for volunteering, donations, and more specific drop off locations and times. On the website you can also donate goods through their amazon wish list or donate funding. For example, according to the website, just donating $10 will feed a family of five.

Along with the food drop offs during the week, USF will also be holding a community canned food drive during the Stanislaus County Fair opening night. The fair will open at 5 p.m. July 8. Guests can bring two cans of food to opening night and will receive a $2 off coupon on adult admission inside.

Any other questions can be answered by locating the website, calling the Turlock office at (209) 668-4853, or calling the Hughson office at (209) 883-9212.