The Food Bank’s efforts to help during Northern California’s unprecedented fire season have been ongoing. The unpredictable nature of fire means things change quickly, but we have a team helping whenever and wherever we can be of assistance.
In case you missed our prior updates, you can catch up by checking our Facebook posts on August 9, August 24 and August 31. Though the CARR fire is finally 100% contained, the devastation remains and many residents remain displaced. One of our staff members deployed to the area reported back that “people are tired–VERY TIRED, the air is bad and smells of toxic chemicals.” She explained that even though the conditions are really hard–with an almost unbearable combination of heat and poor air quality–people are so very thankful that we are there for them.
Early on, we sent CalFresh outreach workers to the Redding area to help people affected by the fires apply for Disaster CalFresh. This federal program helps victims meet the temporary nutritional needs within a 30-day period following a natural disaster. Many of the people we met with were initially unclear about the benefits and assumed that they would not qualify because they aren’t eligible for traditional CalFresh. After we dispelled myths and clarified half-truths, people were surprised and relieved at the potential for benefits. Many spoke of complete loss and while CalFresh won’t replace everything in their refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, they were grateful for our outreach assistance.
Moving forward, here’s the latest update on our fire relief efforts:
- Late last week it was decided that we’d continue weekly food distributions to Dignity Health Connected Living agencies through October to assist in the CARR fire recovery AND continue weekly food distributions to two low-income schools in Shasta County.
- We are receiving, processing and transporting emergency boxes from Feeding America, as well as donations of cereal and shelf-stable groceries from Kellogg’s and C&S Wholesale Grocers.
- We are donating and sending produce to the affected area.
- We are continuing to send staff to oversee these distributions in Redding.
- We are also communicating with agencies serving the Shasta and Siskiyou counties to see how we can help with the Delta fire AND with officials in Napa County to offer aid with the Snell Fire.
It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together for a common goal. Whether it’s fighting chronic hunger, or responding to a natural disaster, the Food Bank is prepared to help our neighbors get the food they need.