By Luise Gleason, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
All of our Public Neighborhood Food Distributions are well attended and received within each community. 2nd Baptist Church in Paso Robles is no exception. Every 1st Thursday of the month, people from all different walks of life make their way to the site between 9:00 and 10:00 am.
Of course, the volunteers always arrive long before the scheduled start time to set up the tables and food boxes that arrive with one of the Food Bank Coalition trucks. While some of the helpers volunteer for the church and others belong to the Promotores (Center for Family Strengthening), all of them are here because they enjoy serving their community. “Whenever the Food Bank Coalition provides food samples during a distribution, we get a chance to talk to the people and educate them about improving the nutrition of their children and their family,” says Yolanda Murillo, a volunteer from the Promotores.
Among the first recipients of the day is Sebastiana, a mother of three children. She tells us that she appreciates all the fruits and vegetables she gets because it helps her cook healthy meals for her family.
Next in line is William who is disabled because he got stabbed in his spinal cord in Honolulu when he was 21 years old. After raising three sons, he and his wife now survive on social security alone. For the past 12 years, he has helped out as a volunteer at the exact same site, but is now also grateful to be on the receiving end of the distribution. He only needs to come once a month because the food he picks up lasts a while for only two people. His favorite items are the bread and the great variety of vegetables.
The last of 30 visitor of the day is Cindy who works as a caregiver and always comes to pick up food for a lady named Riva that is suffering from polio. Besides bringing Riva a nutritious selection of food items from the distribution, Cindy also drives her to doctor’s appointments, cooks for her and cleans her home two times a week for five hours. Her job is being paid for by the In-Home Support Services Program (IHSS). She has been working with them for about four years and supports several other clients in addition to Riva. “When my husband and I go fishing, we share our catch with my clients,” Cindy explains with a big smile on her face that shows how much she enjoys her job. And on top of that, she always donates to the Food Bank Coalition whenever she goes shopping at Albertsons in Paso Robles and gets asked for a contribution.
The stories of Yolanda, Sebastiana, William and Cindy provide four fantastic examples of how our community can come together to help each other in times of need. No matter how small the act of kindness, every little thought can make a huge impact. We all have the possibility to make a difference in SLO County!