Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus

Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus 2560 1920 Harry Chapin Food Bank

Friday, April 10, 2020

Surreal. No other word describes what is transpiring in our community, in our world. We have just wrapped up our second week of drive-thru distributions. This morning we held a drive-thru distribution at the Boys and Girls Club of Naples (photo above) and the sheer number of cars waiting for food is tragic.

We recently met Dace Vella at one of our twelve drive-thru distributions. Dace lost her job on March 15 due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. She worked at a restaurant that made the difficult decision to completely shut down.

Dace immigrated from her native Latvia in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2002. Dace is not afraid of working hard. In fact, she has cleaned houses, served at dinner parties, house-sat, and managed home projects. She fervently believes that all work is honorable work – a lesson that she learned from her parents. After having spent a few minutes with her, it wasn’t surprising to hear that she is actively seeking work, having applied most recently at Walmart.

Dace has never received help from anyone in life until this pandemic began. As she waited in her car for food, she was overwhelmed with embarrassment. She has always managed on her own. Her resourcefulness has always been a source of pride for her. In fact, she brought her nephews to the U.S. and put them through school. She has always been the one to help others. She is fearful for her future, for this pandemic.

Dace also expresses deep gratitude, an emotion that your food bank shares with her.

We feel deeply moved by the recent outpouring of support. You all have been so generous with your time, talents, and treasures. This pandemic emphasizes the importance of all of us working together to ensure that no one has to go hungry.

The need continues to grow. Our car lines are full of people like Dace, people who have never experienced hunger before. The amount of food that our partner agencies need to meet the demand is staggering. Your food bank employees are working around the clock to find alternative sources of food, and they are succeeding. This week alone your food bank has distributed 425,150 pounds of food.

We are pleased that our drive-thru distributions have served people successfully. We are thrilled that those who are hungry drive away with trunks full of fresh foods and our shelf-stable food kits. We are thankful for our volunteers, some of whom are working multiple shifts. They are one of the ingredients in our recipe for sound financial management.

As we head into the holiday weekend, we give thanks to each of you. We now prepare for another busy week and expect to see more people like Dace in the ever-growing car lines throughout our five-county footprint.

To support our feeding efforts, please click here.

If you are well, able and willing to volunteer, please sign up here.

If you are looking for food, please click here.