Grants Provide Much Needed Support to Food Share’s Pantry Network
Thanks to support from Feeding America, Food Share has been able to provide grant funding to twenty-eight members of our food pantry network. The funding has enabled investment in items like refrigerators and shelving systems that directly support each pantry’s operational capacity and their ability to serve the increasing numbers of clients they’re seeing experiencing COVID-related hardship.
Among the pantry partners receiving funding was Adelante Comunidad Conejo (ACC), which operates the Adelante Shadows Pantry in a community room at the Shadows Apartments in downtown Thousand Oaks. Commenting on the grant funding, Lilian Mendoza, President of ACC said, ”Up until now, we have been staging the pantry using existing banquet tables and three residential refrigerators. This has made keeping up with the number of pantry visitors very challenging. Now we have a reach-in refrigerator and freezer, chrome five-tier mobile shelves, and hand trucks and platform trucks for the stocking of food supplies. We can stock the pantry with more food and that has meant that few, if any, families are turned away without the items they were hoping to receive. Thank you, FoodShare, for making these improvements possible.”
In addition, several pantries including The Channel Islands Vineyard Church Pantry located in Port Hueneme, have used the grant funds to streamline their operation through improved technology. As Jim and Karen Amescua, pantry coordinators at the Vineyard Pantry explain, “The new computers have sped up the check in process and the required data reporting, plus our volunteers no longer have to use their own personal equipment.”
Still others, like Community Action of Ventura County (CAVC), have used the funding to purchase heavy-duty lifting and loading equipment. As Susana Lopez-Garcia, CAVC’s Executive Director explained, “[We have] moved from serving an average of 90 households to 400 households every week. With this new demand, the agency found itself in need of additional equipment. The biggest acquisition has been the forklift scale and pallet jack, which is needed to load and unload the increased amounts of food. We will no longer have to depend on borrowing one or be afraid that our pallet jack may break down. We thank you for this opportunity.”
Food Share team serve 3,500 seniors a month
The CSFP team (l-r) Angela Aparicio, Iris Salazar, Edgar Sandoval, Jose Cruz, Brandon Loera
According to the National Council on Aging, 43% of older adults and 21% of married seniors rely on social security for over 90% of their income. High regional living costs, healthcare and housing, mean that for many older adults in Ventura County what should be “golden years” are often the years of economic hardship and the gnawing stress of food insecurity.
Food Share reaches many of these seniors through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) a USDA-funded program aimed at improving the health of low-income people aged 60+ by supplementing their diets with nutritious food.
CSFP Manager, Iris Salazar, and her team distribute food boxes to more than 3,500 food-insecure Ventura County seniors a month at 34 locations across the county. The program has been even more vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen as many as 25% of Food Share’s community pantry partners close, at least temporarily.
“It’s a lifeline for many of the seniors,” commented Iris, who you can read more about in our Staff Spotlight. “We have capacity to help more people so if you or someone you know is 60+ and has an income at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines then please encourage them to sign up.”
For more information on the CSFP program including the current distribution locations please visit our website at: foodshare.com/programs/#seniorprograms