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COVID-19 Week 4 Operations Updates From Executive Director Tina Postel

From all of us at Loaves & Fishes, we hope you are all safe and sound AT HOME.  Here is the latest update from Executive Director Tina Postel for the week beginning April 6th.

Dear Friends of Loaves & Fishes,

Switch to Mobile Pantries: This week, beginning Monday, April 6th, we will officially make the switch from our “brick and mortar” pantries to mobile pantries.  It was a difficult decision to temporarily close the pantries but we will continue to operate in the parking lots of most of those same locations and are adding other locations throughout the county. Here is the schedule of operation for this week: https://loavesandfishes.org/mobile-pantry/. Currently we are scheduling these a week at a time to see which locations are the best for our clients and will adjust accordingly.

Emergency Food Boxes and fresh, perishable foods: Our box packers have done an incredible job packing emergency food boxes with a 7 day supply of groceries.   The goal is to pack 1,000 boxes a day!  Second Harvest Food Bank also delivered another 2,000 food boxes this past week.  We are also working with Second Harvest to move a high quantity of fresh, perishable food at each of our mobile locations.  Families in need have been so grateful to receive these fresh items, items such as: milk, apples, avocados, oranges, sweet potatoes and frozen meat. Thank you Second Harvest!

The Need Continues: The demand remains high.  Thanks to our hardworking phone center volunteers (working remotely from home) and our administrative team answering phone lines, we are able to make thousands of referrals for people in need.  Through our full size pantries and the mobiles we added last week (3/30-4/5) we provided a week’s worth of groceries for 3,406 people  (1,453 kids, 1,769 adults, 184 seniors).  Our team of staff, volunteers and agency partners are working tirelessly to make sure everyone is fed.  The long hours are worth it though when you get to see the relief and gratitude on people’s faces as we load their vehicles up with much needed groceries! 

Volunteer limitations: In an effort to keep exposure as limited as possible in our warehouse, at our mobile pantries and in our offices, we have had to make the difficult decision to cut back on the use of volunteers. We also want everyone to follow the stay at home order for their own health and well-being.  We do have limited openings and needs for volunteers in very small numbers so encourage those interested in helping to keep an eye on our website and we will list our needs there as they come up.  We are currently looking for SPANISH speakers at our mobile pantries this week—people who are fluent in Spanish can sign up here: https://loavesandfishes.volunteermatrix.com/.

Testing a Home Delivery: Although many caseworkers, school teachers and nonprofits pick up groceries for clients in need, we still are receiving calls about a smaller population of people, particularly seniors and those with extreme medical issues, that need food but don’t have resources or a support system to access food.  For that reason, we are launching a small pilot program this week to accept referrals for home deliveries.  Danielle, our Volunteer Coordinator, has a long list of volunteers willing to drive/deliver food boxes to people’s homes so we are starting small to work out the logistics.  If successful, we look to expand this delivery system to others in need.  Stay tuned.

Stay safe everyone and as always, thank you for your support of Loaves & Fishes! 

From one hunger fighter to another,

Tina Postel,

Executive Director

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