Expanding Southtowne Rotary’s Food Boxes Program
Camille Ronzio says that when the pandemic hit, Southtowne Rotary already had the food, the resources, and the delivery people signed up to help. So, they decided to make a go of it. For their monthly Food Boxes Program, they had 16 food boxes put together. They gathered some more resources and, on March 20th, delivered food to 60 families.
Then, some of Rotary’s partners said that they needed more food boxes. With some additional food from Lane County and a little bit of fundraising, they put together 15 extra boxes. On the following Thursday, they sent out 33 food boxes. This amount grew to 35 boxes the next week. More recently, Rotary delivered food to 67 families.
Camille says that they were able to gather resources quickly. “We had the partners with the need, we have the abundant foods, if we can just raise a little bit of money for those extra foods, why not?”
Safely Preparing And Delivering Food Boxes
On Wednesdays, Camille gets the names of the families that need the boxes, and by Thursdays at 4:00, they are delivered. Rotary has focused on making the entire process of preparing and delivering their food boxes safe for the volunteers and families.
Camille and her husband work together during the early shift to put the boxes together. Some folks from Whitaker Head Start join them to get the boxes ready for delivery.
At 1:30, one of Rotary’s trucks goes to Food for Lane County, and another two trucks go to The Mission to get perishables and non-perishables. Then they’ll meet back at the gymnasium with five elementary school volunteers to help pack the boxes up. At 3:15, cars start lining up, and our volunteers will wheel out the specific box that each vehicle needs.
We want to give a special shout out to our volunteer, Cam, who helps make sure everything is together all day long. He opens the gym, sanitizes everything, and gets everything ready. Jenny Sink, the principle at Fairfield, has also allowed us to use the Fairfield Gym so that we can make this happen.
Serving The Needs Of Partners And Families in Our Community
By asking organizations what they need, we ensure that we meet the real needs in the community. Some of our key partnerships are with Head Start of Lane County, Fairfield Elementary in the Bethel School District, and Downtown Languages, which serves Hispanic families.
Eliminating Barriers To Getting Food
Our partners help us deliver food to families who are in greatest need of food assistance. Each of our partners is eligible for what is known as Rotary’s Food Box Program. When there is a family in need who approaches one of our partners, we can then give them a box.
Testimonials from Community Partners and Families
Carole, a single mom, wanted to share her gratitude for the Food Pantry box that she picked up from Head Start, the week before school was shut down, March 23rd. Chava Kronen, a Family Support Coordinator at Head Start, writes:
That box was a godsend. No one knew at that time what was going to happen regarding business and school closures. Carole works full time at Albertson’s and when the restrictions kicked in, the stores were inundated and she had no time to take a break or shop for herself and her son. She felt such relief knowing that she had several days of food in that box so she didn’t have to worry as the shelves emptied right in front of her eyes.
Things have calmed down now and she is able to take a break during work and shop for herself. But that box was very much appreciated. Thank you.
Becca Bruce, another Family Support Coordinator at Head Start, has expressed her gratitude for the relief food boxes have brought to families she serves.
I just wanted to thank you myself, from the bottom of my heart. Being able to offer your boxes to my families was such a blessing. I am so fortunate that I have you all to rely on. My families are stressed on a normal day, but now, with shortages, they are so much more. Every single person I talked to about receiving a food box, I could hear the relief in their reply. Many of them have had difficulty finding the supplies they need, or don’t have the money to “stock up” like most are doing. A couple of my parents that you supported, have compromised immune systems, and should not be going to the store.
So, THANK YOU. You don’t know how much you have helped the most vulnerable population. You all are amazing.
Help Our Community by Supporting Our Food Boxes Program
Delivering food boxes has shown us that there are many families struggling immensely with food and shelter insecurity right now. Some families who have received our food boxes had not eaten in days. Many of these families had multiple children of different ages.
There are many more families who can benefit from food boxes, but this is only possible with funding from our community. We ask for your donations, knowing that these funds will help serve families who are struggling right now. To learn more about our Food Boxes Program, visit our project page.