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Tag ‘ food pantry ’

If I Couldn’t Grab a Midnight Snack

Guest post by Jenay Ross, Print and Digital Journalism major//Music Industry minor, University of Southern California: Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were homeless? What it would be like if you didn’t have the same bed to sleep in every night or if you didn’t have a fridge to go through to search for a snack?

I think about it every time I feed the hungry.

Tonight I volunteered for Mission Solano’s Nomadic Shelter Program hosted by the Rockville Presbyterian Church in Fairfield. It was the most put-together food line I had ever volunteered at.

I don’t mean in terms of how organized it was, but how special everything looked. Instead of paper plates and plastic utensils, they used real plates and silverware placed on nice table cloths with candle center pieces.

The clients, or “guests,” arrived by bus shortly after 6:15PM, clean from their showers back at Mission Solano and ready for a filling meal.

Tonight’s meal consisted of glazed ham, green beans, mashed potatoes. bread, salad and a variety of cakes.

As if their “thank yous weren’t enough to warm my heart, every face had gratefulness written all over it. I even had the pleasure of having a conversation with a few of them about my own experiences at other food lines and my journalism endeavors.

One thing that blew me away was how helpful the clients were. They didn’t just congregate somewhere else while the volunteers cleaned up. They started breaking down tables, putting away chairs and even mopped up the floor while the volunteers did the dishes.

My favorite moment of the night was when a lovely young man was playing the church’s piano and started singing while some of the others laughed and danced.

Now the people are being tucked away at the church for a good night’s rest with a roof over their heads.

No one should ever go hungry and sometimes it’s up to us, the more fortunate souls, to be there for them.

Editor’s Note: Mission Solano is a Food Bank Partner Agency. To learn more about our agencies visit: http://www.foodbankccs.org/get-help/member-agencies.html

Agency Store Gives Help with Dignity

Guest post by Inventory Logistics Coordinator, Charisse Ross. The Vacaville Storehouse is a distribution center for food and clothing to needy families of Vacaville. The food is provided by the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Food and clothing are given free of charge to those who are in need. Some members of our operations team stopped in for a visit and shared what they saw.

Filled bags of groceries ready for Storehouse patrons.

Their store front looks like a mini Target. Clients check in at the door and are asked if they have picked up groceries yet this month. The volunteer will verify in their computer whether or not the person came. If not, they go through the FAP (Food Assistance Program) qualifying process. If they have not received their FAP groceries yet, they are given a coupon that they exchange for the proper number of bags based on their family size. Whether they are picking up a FAP bag or not, they still get to shop in their “store”. They are given one empty grocery bag and they can fill it with whatever items they want (i.e. clothes, perishables and/or other non-food items). About 1500 bags of groceries are distributed every month.

Pastor Raymond Beaty is the Executive Director of the program. The white boxes behind him are cereal our purchasing manager helped them get.

They have an internship program with kids between 18 and 23 who have graduated from high school, but not sure of what they want to do next. They come from all over, even different countries and are housed by host families from their church. These kids take various different classes they provide plus they volunteer at the Storehouse every day. The Storehouse also goes out into troubled areas of their community and (using the same qualifying process) give out groceries. For instance, one location is a park where gang members might hang out. They show up with food to give out, the gang members go away and they have noticed kids coming out to play.

54 scarves knitted for the Storehouse by Food Bank employee, Charise, her friends and family.

The Vacaville storehouse is located at:
1146 E. Monte Vista Ave.

Vacaville, CA 95688

For more information please email Stephanie Johnson or visit their website.
Have you been to the Storehouse? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

Vacaville Storehouse

 

 

 

 

Stories from the Creek, Part 2

Guest post by John VanLandingham, Food Bank volunteer: Every month, approximately 100 people appear at St.Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek to receive free food distributions from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano counties. Many of those are collecting for more than one person. Here are some of their stories

 “I’m collecting for my son. I saw the truck go by and I inquired.”
George, Walnut Creek

George stood with one booted leg firmly planted on the parking lot asphalt, the other, bent back under his thigh, carefully planted on an orthopedic scooter. The burly, white-bearded Walnut Creek resident said he was collecting food for his disabled son who lives at home with him.

“It’s my second time for him,” he said as he brought up the end of the line of about 110 persons waiting to receive food donations from the Contra Costa-Solano Food Bank volunteers. He said his son is unemployed and unable to meet his living needs without the Food Bank’s assistance.

George said he learned about the food distribution program by inquiring after he saw one of the Food Bank’s trucks go by one day. “I inquired and filled out the paper work,” he said.

After handing George a bag of staples, a volunteer asked George if he could use some extra apples. “Give me all you can, I’m collecting for my son,” he responded. Moments later, George, accompanied by a pair of volunteers, took the bag and a box of apples to his car parked nearby.

For more information on our programs and services, please visit the Give Help page of our website.