We are helping families who are transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing, along with housed-families and seniors who are struggling to feed themselves and their children. We have funds and mentoring available to help them in the steps along the way.
At this point, during the Covid Emergency, much of our hands-on has been limited, and we are most involved in feeding all people in need. Our efforts are typically carried out in one of three ways:
• Preparing hot and cold meals for the homeless in encampments and at the Clean Start Shower Program, on Friday mornings in Martinez. This has substantially replaced our cooking-in-shelters program, due to Covid restrictions. We work in partnership with Homeless Action Coalition and Loaves & Fishes of Contra Costa County to make this happen.
Pre-covid we had been cooking about 8 to 10 meals per month in shelters and homeless facilities, working with Shelter Inc and Loaves & Fishes. This allowed us to meet so many of the people in need and learn from them how they and their families became homeless and the steps they are taking toward new lives.
• We provide boxes and bags of non perishable food, about 1.5 cubic feet per family, along with assorted perishables as available, typically in the neighborhood of another half cubic foot. Our volunteers purchase some of the food at local grocery stores, some of the food is donated to us in kind by generous people, and we get some food from other partner programs.
Some of these packages are picked up on scheduled Saturdays by the recipients at a local church and others are delivered by our volunteers, to seniors and other people who are housebound or without transportation. In come cases people come to get our packages for neighbors or relatives.
• We also provide volunteers to help with other events where our food service certified team leaders help other organization. Recently Loaves & Fishes in Martinez asked us to provide people to help launch their weekend meal service program, and two of our volunteers managed aspects of Christmas for Everyone, where over 1,000 meals were prepared and served on Christmas Day. Kevin Murray managed the kitchen teams and Lian Busby organized and supervised the Homebound Delivery program.
• Partnering with Businesses Though less frequent during the Epidemic, we from time-to-time partner with local business including restaurants to prepare meals for the homeless and others in need. We also partner with retail stores to be collection points for where people can drop off food and other donations. In some situations we work side-by-side with the owners and workers, and some restaurants have given us keys and alarm codes so we can come in on off hours to prepare the meals.