Food for People rises in demand
When volunteers and directors at Food for People discovered a sewage backup last month at the organization’s Eureka warehouse, the writing was on the (flooddamaged) wall: They were in for a logistical nightmare.
As it turns out, that was just the start.
A global outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the fastspreading coronavirus, has increased local demand for the organization’s food inventory, while social-distancing enforcement has complicated how food is distributed to thousands across Humboldt County.
And while the group quickly rallied to another primary distribution location — the old Eureka Chamber of Commerce building — and found one, going on two, warehouses to store its products, the past few weeks have been a challenge.
“We’re working through it,” said Carly Robbins, the organization’s deputy director. “I don’t think any of us thought that we would be put in the position we’re in now, which is a lot more need in our community and something we only see increasing here in the immediate future.”
By deadline, Robbins couldn’t provide exact numbers on the increased demand, but she said it has increased across the county.
COVID-19’s spread has prompted California to close off public spaces, like dine-in restaurants, and ordered residents to shelter in place. As a result, Food for People’s countywide pantries have become an even more vital resource for finding a meal.
Robbins said the organization has been trained by Eureka police to create social distance between those who come by for food, since health guidelines call for residents to remain six feet apart from each other. Food is now bagged and packaged before distribution.
Food for People is also “working toward” receiving help from the National Guard after Gov. Gavin Newsom called on military aid for statewide food banks.