by Rhea Kuhlman, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteer.
At the South Bay Food Pantry, we never know until the last minute what kinds of fresh produce we’ll receive from the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego, or how much meat or bread will be available for our families on Saturday. But one thing we can always be sure of is that the bags of shelf stable goods the mid-week baggers put together every week will contain good healthy food that can keep a family going, regardless of what else is available. The SBFB always keeps on hand stores of non-perishable items to supplement the fresh and frozen items we distribute each Saturday
By Nina Douglass, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteer
The parking lot of 907 Broadway is like that of any other Chula Vista strip mall on weekdays. On Saturdays, however, the lot is transformed by hundreds of South Bay Food Pantry volunteers and clients. Volunteers arrive by 8am to receive and stage hundreds of pounds of canned and other dry goods, fresh produce and Starbucks bakery items from the big Feeding San Diego truck. By then, many pantry guests are already waiting for the 9am distribution of numbers which serve to organize the line-up for the 11am - 12:30pm food distribution. The few trees at the site provide welcome shade for people waiting to collect their food.
by Nina Douglass, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteer
When asked what inspired her to found the South Bay Food Pantry, FUUSD member Maureen McNair has recalled noticing signs of insufficient access to nutritious food among the elementary school children she taught in that neighborhood. Maureen’s recognition that chronic food insecurity in the South Bay is pervasive led her to address the problem through the creation of the pantry.
We only had a few cans of food on hand and told her we had no opening plans yet. But, we offered to give her food. We gave her several cans of food with pop tops. She turned out to be the first client at our South Bay Food Pantry.
By Maureen McNair
Here is a good reason to answer a telephone call from an unknown phone number, even in the weeks leading up the election: it could be actual good news! Shirley Koch works for Rady’s Children’s Hospital in a program called Health Stars. Health Stars provides early literacy intervention for low income and homeless parents with children up to age 8. It was Shirley on the phone calling to introduce herself and ask if she and her team could distribute books and literacy information at some of our Saturday food and Sunday diaper distributions. I immediately agreed. Not only that, after Shirley explained her literacy mission in more detail, I let her know she had hit pay dirt to help her meet the goals of Health Stars.
Day of the Dead has been an important celebration for so many of us for the last few years. I have felt grateful for the opportunity to share with this congregation this holiday during worship. And I know this is a meaningful service for so many of our Mexican, Mexican-American, and Latinx members. An affirmation of our culture and an opportunity to honor our beloved dead in community. The pandemic has already prevented us from gathering and celebrating so many occasions together: Easter, Pride, Pachamama, and more. For our services and some rituals, we have tried new virtual ways to recreate them. But, leading a Day of the Dead service online didn’t feel right to me this year.
by Maureen McNair
The combo box program arrives just as our food pantry clientele continues to explode. Last Saturday, we distributed food to 152 heads of household who waited in line while volunteers unloaded the delivery truck. The heads of household have families with a total of about 650 people for whom we provided food for meals for a few days. We received 132 combo boxes and distributed food to a total 152 households. So, one of the things I am working on this week is trying to obtain more boxes of food for October.
By Maureen McNair
Last Saturday morning, a woman I had never met drove over to my house and gave me $300 in cash. To be fair, I had spoken with her on the phone earlier in the day when she used her credit card to pay the fees for over a week at a county campground. Her altruism was on behalf of a homeless US Marine and his family who showed up at the South Bay Food Pantry earlier in the day. The Marine, David, with his two year old son in tow, found our pantry through 211 emergency services. One of our pantry volunteers gave David a standard bag of food we create for unsheltered guests. Saturday was a busy day. Our pantry has seen a 25% increase in clients over the last two weeks. Last Saturday when David showed up, we served 127 heads of household, representing about 570 people, in 90 minutes. I did not have a chance to get to know David until he came back later to give me his phone number. He had offered to volunteer.
The South Bay food pantry will be open every Saturday in May from 11 am - 12:30 pm.
Cantemos por nuestras vidas / We Are a Gentle, Angry People
Cuando el Pobre / When the Poor Ones
De Colores / All the Colors
Fuente de Amor / Spirit of Life
Hemos de triunfar / We Shall Overcome
La lucecita mia / This Little Light of Mine
Los barandales del puente
Ven, ven, alégrate hoy / Enter, Rejoice, and Come In
Ven, ven, cual eres, ven / Come, Come, Whoever You Are
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