by Maureen McNair
Happy New Year, everyone!
We had access to absolutely no turkeys from either of the two main regional food banks before Christmas. It was our pleasure to give away a lot of other food and the dozens of gift cards many of you all so generously donated. Our last food distribution before Christmas turned out to be our biggest food distribution to date, serving 206 households with over 840 individuals!
The pantry had its first food distribution of 2022 this past Saturday. Surprise! We were supposed to receive frozen turkeys from Feeding San Diego. They were supposed to arrive Saturday at 7:30 AM, well before our 11 AM distribution start time. But when the delivery driver opened his truck doors, surprise again! No one had loaded the turkeys.
Usually, I would seek comfort in a latte at this point. However, with the omicron variant of the covid virus rapidly circulating, I had to keep on my mask. I did not even bring a latte to the pantry. The driver was new and did not know who to contact about the missing turkeys. So, after I made lots of texts and phone calls, he drove all the way back to the food bank warehouse in Sorrento Valley and returned with 150 frozen birds just before our food distribution started.
The delivery truck with no turkeys was just part of the confusing start to the beginning of our third year in business. We also did not have our usual bread to distribute. . Our volunteers gamely drove up to Liberty Station to pick up the bread donation, but surprise! The bakery was closed because of covid-19 and no one had told us. Again, no comforting latte.
We had also been receiving nearly 1,000 pounds of Starbucks food every week. But this past Saturday, surprise! We received nothing. No one I talked to seems to know what happened. At this point, I committed to myself that I would drive through a Starbucks after my shift and buy a latte.
Nonetheless, with 150 frozen turkeys, nearly two tons of fresh produce, and lots of dry goods, our volunteers distributed over 7,000 pounds of food to people last week. While it was a chaotic beginning to the start of our pantry’s third year in business, all eventually turned out well. Three and a half tons of food is still a lot of food!
Volunteers saw lots of familiar faces. Some of our clients came early and helped bag fresh produce. Other clients came early to get numbers to hold their places in line. I am sorry they are experiencing food insecurity. But, I know other volunteers share my sentiment that it was really good to see people again.
Nina Douglass, who volunteers regularly, says, "A woman I chatted with while she was in line . . . told me she also had been out of work recently - she works with infirm elderly - because she had been caring for her 90 year old mother, who has now died. She spoke of the pantry as helping her survive a very dark time, which for her is ongoing - she needs to find work, but is still grieving.”
Together, we make a difference! Thank you for your continued interest and generosity!
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