By Stephanie Otero, Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB)
COVID-19 presented a great deal of issues for food banks, including increased demand for services, declines in donations of food, loss of volunteers, a reduction of resources, and disruptions to food distribution models, creating an economic crisis unlike anything since the Great Depression.
Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB) has played an essential role in feeding vulnerable families during this time of economic disparity. In 2020, we fed over 1.5 million Inland Empire residents and distributed over 26 million pounds of food to Riverside and San Bernardino County residents. We provided multiple programs and a variety of services to meet the growing need. These programs included Cal Fresh application assistance, home-bound food deliveries, contactless emergency drive-through food distributions, and access to free food distributions through our network of over 250 community partners.
As the CEO of FARSB, I have seen, first-hand, the impact that the pandemic has had on our community. So many of our neighbors have found themselves turning to FARSB for emergency support for the first time in their lives. We’ve seen mothers cry tears of joy after receiving a box of food; seniors filled with gratitude when they could not leave their home and had food delivered; children with smiles when they received milk, fruit, and cereal. Also, we’ve received countless gratitude cards and letters from community members thanking us for our services.
As we approach the one-year mark since the pandemic’s initial onset, we still see an increased demand for food assistance. While economic recovery from the pandemic will take years, FARSB will continue to work on the front lines assisting all of our neighbors in need, providing hope and nourishment.
If you have offered a helping hand during the pandemic, thank you for your support. If you have not yet given or would like to show your continued support, visit www.FeedingIE.org to donate now. Every $1 can provide up to 7 meals, and 100% of your donation stays in the Inland Empire, where your neighbors will receive the emergency food assistance they need.
From all of us at FARSB, thank you for your support. Together, #WeFeedtheIE.