Food Box & Emergency Services Fundraiser
Hundreds of family members have depended on our food box deliveries in order to meet their basic needs. Delivering food boxes throughout this pandemic has been both heartbreaking and heartwarming. On the one hand, we have come face to face with families, including children, who had gone hungry for days. But when they open their door to a delivery of fifty-plus pounds of fresh, nutritiously balanced food, it’s clear that this is what community is all about. Over a twelve-month period, we delivered nearly fifty tons of food! They open their doors to a community member who cares about them! These families recommended by our community partners also experience emergencies and have needs for cleaning, sanitizing, and sometimes diapers and wipes. Our food boxes and our programs expand to meet these ongoing emergencies.
Meanwhile, the number of homeless youth and adults in our town is staggering. Our Southtowne Rotary Club rolls up its sleeves to support the Youth House, Hosea Youth Services, the Mission, 15th Night, 4J’s McKinney-Vento program, and other partnerships with St. Vincent de Paul. Our club volunteers work for free, of course, but these programs all require financial support as well.
We are stretching every dollar to the max…but we NEED YOUR HELP. Our Fundraising Campaign goal is to raise at least $15,000, which would fund most of these program costs. Please consider making a donation today!
Food Boxes Program
For the past seven years, Southtowne Rotary volunteers have compiled and distributed food boxes to local families. Families in need can request a food box through our community partners, including Head Start, Fairfield Elementary, and Downtown Languages. We then deliver the food boxes directly to our partners, to where the family lives, or arrange a way for families to pick up the food boxes from us.
By working with our community partners, we can get our food boxes to families who need them the most. This program is a valuable resource for our partners as well. When a family in crisis comes to one of our partners and asks for assistance, our partners can call on us for a food box, and then give that to the family in need.
Collecting Food Donations
FOOD for Lane County and the Eugene Mission regularly donate non-perishable and ready-to-make foods for these boxes. We are grateful that FOOD for Lane County chose us as a P2 partner due to our long-term commitment to getting food to families in our community. Our relationships with these local organizations is what helps make this program so successful.
We make sure these food boxes provide resources for breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. We’ve found that when we ask our partners and families what foods they need, we can create food boxes that are more helpful to them.
We make some boxes specifically for hispanic populations that are underserved by other food abundance programs. These boxes will include ingredients like hominy and black beans, that they can make many meals out of rather than just one.
Distributing Food Boxes
The pandemic has placed extra stress on members in our community, and the need for food assistance has increased dramatically. We’ve continued working closely with our partners to assemble and deliver food boxes. Thanks to Jenny Sink, principle at Fairfield Elementary, we have been using the Fairfield Elementary gym to make the boxes and hand them off to families. Camille Ronzio, a Southtowne Rotarian, has continued to organize this effort, through scheduling volunteer shifts and ensuring food boxes are ready to be delivered.
Over this time, over 30 Rotarians have helped on this project and we are currently delivering 150 food boxes to families each month. We’ve also expanded the supplies we offer to include important non-food items like diapers and soap. The feedback we have received from families receiving these boxes has been both inspiring and troublesome. We are continually learning how much food assistance like this is needed right now, especially with cuts in transportation, work opportunities, and shortages of staple foods in grocery stores. In the current climate, we plan to continue distributing our food boxes and help as many families as we can.
KVAL News recently covered our Food Boxes Program. Check out their article, “Eugene Southtowne Rotary stays busy feeding hungry during pandemic.”
Examples Of Families Served By Our Food Boxes Program
- Single-parent household with 3 kids, living in an apartment. The parent rides the bus for transportation, as vehicle costs are too high, and works from 6-6 to support the family. Approximately half of the wages go for daycare. A food box is a great relief for this family and helps them make ends meet.
- A dual parent household of 5 kids. One parent works, one parent stays home to cut the cost of daycare. Parents use public transportation or walk. A food box helps this family cut the cost of groceries.
- Single parent household of 3 kids in an apartment. Circumstances have forced this parent to recently relocate to this area and they do not know anyone here. Currently unemployed. When offered the food box, the parent was grateful as the house did not have many “staples” to start with.
- Single parent family currently unhoused with 2 kids. Parent works part-time. A food box is great for this family as the items are non-perishable and most do not require a stove/oven to prepare/serve.
Examples Of Non-Food Items
- A grant was written for utilizing funds originally dedicated to Deborah and Don Steely’s project. Part of this was for school supplies. The closet for students at Willamette High School is empty. Many requests have been given to the office at Fairfield by various students. Susie purchased water bottles and other school supplies for 4-J McKinney Vento. Bi Mart offered us a 50% discount. We filled a car with about 40 3-ring notebooks, 100 spiral notebooks for Willamette, supplies for McKinney Vinto, and dry erase markers, pencil cases, crayons, colored pencils, and other items identified by Fairfield Elementary. With the discount, it totaled $276.00 All are delivered to partners. This grant will also give funds for the Thanksgiving break boxes.
- We have had requests for at least 5 warm blankets so far. We have had all of the blankets donated to date and Chris, our community partner gave us 6 new fleece throws that we have given to these families who are cold.
- To date we have delivered 40 cloth face masks to Whitaker Head Start and 40 to Bethel Head Start as the preschool parents have been unable to afford masks and these are washable and reusable. The cost so far is about $140.