Leading the new fight on hunger
In the past two weeks we have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for our services. We anticipate that need will grow exponentially as schools remain closed and paychecks disappear. As a supporter of the Food Bank, we wanted to give you an inside look at what it’s like to lead in a crisis and adapt our services to the ever-changing new normal.
How would you describe the mood at the Food Bank right now?
I think the overall mood is one of determination. There certainly remains concerns and even anxiety as we all face the dangerous challenges COVID-19 presents. With that said, I am grateful and proud to be part of this moment and I think I speak on behalf of our staff and volunteers when I say we are honored to be a beacon of hope during these tough times.
What kind of disaster planning was in place prior to COVID-19?
The Bay Area food banks have an Emergency Disaster Plan in place, but it was created more with earthquakes and wildfires in mind. In those situations, usually some food banks are functioning at normal capacity and could step in to help, and in fact, this Mutual Aid Agreement has been successfully activated in the past few years. With COVID-19, we are all in the trenches and can’t help each other out physically, but we’re all sharing helpful information and strategies to best handle the new influx of clients.
Who else have you been working with to best meet the needs of our neighbors during this crisis?
The list is long, which is good, because we’re going to need all hands on deck for quite some time! Currently the National Guard has been helping box food in our Fairfield facility, the Mayor of Concord is helping us secure additional needed storage space, the California Association of Food Banks has rapidly increased availability on produce purchasing and Feeding America is expanding our ability to purchase and distribute more food. I am especially grateful for my partnerships with many other CEO’s in California with whom I Zoom regularly in sharing best practices and encouragement.