Every Friday, Delano residents begin lining up in their cars at 6 a.m. in front of Life House Church for a food distribution that starts at 9 a.m. Before the distribution begins, cars are wrapped around the block.
The residents get their early to ensure they receive a box of food, as the need has only grown bigger during the COVID-19 pandemic. This particular food distribution serves anywhere from 100 to 300 families every Friday.
“With the emergency food boxes alone, it was enough for almost 400 families, and there was 20,000 pounds of fresh produce,” said Maureen Andrews, who helps organize CAPK’s food distributions. “We’re fortunate with all this food, but at the same time, we’re unfortunate because our poverty level is the highest in the nation which is horrible.”
The food in the boxes comes from many organizations in town. It is donated by local grocery stores, by the Delano High School District, CAPK and local farmers. On this occasion, CAPK brought two truckloads of fresh food.
Life House Church parishioner Alfonso Magana began volunteering at the food distributions because he saw a need for help.
“The first time I came…they had 300 boxes of food, and I was surprised that there was only four women taking the boxes down,” he said. “Once (volunteering and) seeing how everyone interacts, seeing the faces of the people coming and getting the food, all that gave me joy.”
Whitney Marsh, the program coordinator for Stay Focused ministries, spoke of how the food distributions have helped families during the pandemic.
“The need is real,” she said. “I’ve heard from so many different people that this food is what has gotten them by and literally kept them afloat because they don’t have money to buy groceries.”
She continued: “For some of these people, it has been a complete shock to their finances. The money that they get from unemployment has to go towards rent, mortgage or their car payment.”
Life House Church has also been known to help the community of Delano even before the pandemic struck. The church held clothing drives and served hot meals routinely.
Head to CAPK’s website to volunteer at your local distribution center or to learn more about upcoming food distributions.