Food Pantry Provides Food For Families in Need
11:10 AM - June 05, 2020
As a direct response to school closures due to COVID-19, a Food Pantry program was implemented by the El Dorado County Office of Education’s (EDCOE) Homeless Youth Coordinator, Margaret Lewis. Prior to extension of the Summer Food Program which provides lunch and breakfast distribution through the schools, it was quickly recognized that children being home from school would put an immediate strain on household budgets for those families who rely on the school's nutrition programs.
Once the school food distribution programs began, it became apparent that many families were still experiencing an increase in food insecurity; some due to lack of transportation to the distribution points; others due to job loss and loss of income; and still others for increased numbers of people being in the home all day due to the shelter in place orders. It was also soon recognized that the need for food would reach beyond just the homeless youth to many other families with socio-economic challenges and vulnerability to food insecurity.
The Food Pantry program provides supplemental shelf-stable groceries to the most vulnerable youth and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. In order to prioritize services and ensure that the donations and funds expended are specifically targeted to serve the county's most vulnerable youth and their families, all persons receiving the donations have been referred by El Dorado County Health and Human Services, public school personnel, or non-profit organizations who serve children. Green Valley Church generously provided an empty portable to serve as food pantry storage for the duration of the school closure. Deliveries to families are made possible by Community Hubs, EDCOE Food Services and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department School Resource Officers. Along with food, families have also received crayons and coloring books made possible by Aspire Kids and private donors.
“Within the first month of this effort, 200 individuals were supplied with shelf-stable groceries through personal donations of food and finances. No family within this month was served more than once as donations were dispersed as quickly as they were received,” expressed Margaret Lewis. “The Food Pantry program was recently awarded a $4,100 grant from the Women’s Fund of El Dorado and a $5,000 grant from the Latrobe Fund. Without these funds and the many others given by private donors, the program would not have been able to sustain the level of giving that has been needed. We are deeply grateful for their support. Through the generosity of the donors, we are able to serve both new referrals and returning families on a monthly basis and have provided food enough for over 8600 meals.”
Gabrielle Marchini, EDCOE Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Accountability shared, “Margaret’s passion for supporting our students and families and her active pursuit to connect with agencies outside of EDCOE have resulted in this resource that is so vital for the health and well-being of those we serve. We are grateful to have Margaret on our team.”
To provide a monetary donation to the Food Pantry, please send a check to the El Dorado County Office of Education, 6767 Green Valley Rd., Placerville, CA 95667, ATTN: Homeless Coordinator Youth Outreach. For more information about EDCOE visit edcoe.org.