‘That’s why we’re here’: Those in need can now visit Interfaith Food Ministry once a week | TheUnion.com

‘That’s why we’re here’: Those in need can now visit Interfaith Food Ministry once a week

Interfaith Food Ministry volunteers help load the trunk of a vehicle during Wednesday’s food distribution. Food ministry officials are glad to be able to provide food weekly for people in the community.
Photo: Elias Funez

Thanks to grant funding from the Albertson Foundation and fundraising efforts by Grass Valley Safeway stores, Nevada County’s Interfaith Food Ministry can now allow client families to come in for food assistance once per week.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Phil Alonso, the ministry’s executive director. “We did a survey recently, and our clients expressed a strong desire to have access to food more frequently. In the past, clients were allowed to visit IFM for food distributions once every two weeks. This funding effectively doubles the amount of groceries we are able to provide for the community.”

Interfaith Food Ministry volunteers work to fill orders for people arriving for food Wednesday at the distribution center off Henderson Street in Grass Valley. Volunteers are always needed, especially going into the holiday season.
Photo: Elias Funez

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, food distribution at Interfaith is currently handled as a drive-thru service. Anyone who needs a little extra help can come by from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Clients fill out grocery shopping requests — fresh produce, meat, dairy, staples, bakery items, prepared foods, and even baby food, diapers, and pet food. Volunteers take care of the rest.

“Most clients end up with a shopping cart full of food,” said Interfaith’s Development Director Naomi Cabral. “Large families or multi-person households can even end up with two carts. The Albertson’s Foundation and our two local Safeway stores have been very good partners with us. This funding is specifically earmarked for extra food, and doesn’t expire until the end of the year. We’re looking forward to helping more people than ever.”

Fresh produce purchased from many local farms — including First Rain, River Hill, Starbright Acres, Mountain Bounty, Feeding Crane, Fog Dog, Wild River, Super Tubers and Early Bird farms — is prepared during Wednesday’s food distribution. Any Nevada County resident in need can receive food assistance.
Photo: Elias Funez

Hunger and financial stress continue to negatively impact residents in and around Nevada County.

“Many folks are working harder than ever, yet still not able to pay all of their bills,” Alonso said. “Family budgets are very tight, due to COVID-related challenges, and the rising costs of housing, utilities, childcare, and gas. Even food prices have gone up recently. Getting free groceries can help families and individuals afford all of their other bills.”

Interfaith Food Ministry volunteers work to stock orders for people arriving for food assistance during Wednesday’s distribution off Henderson Street in Grass Valley. Volunteers are always welcomed to help with the community gardens, facility work, driving, as well as with remote volunteer options like fundraising and social media.
Photo: Elias Funez

“September is Hunger Action Month,” Cabral added. “It’s a great time to get involved with our work. We have a number of volunteer positions at the distribution center. Even remote volunteer work is available. Of course, we also welcome donations any time via mail and at our website.”

IFM is at 440 Henderson St. in Grass Valley. For questions or more details on IFM’s work, call 273-8132, email info@interfaithfoodministry.org or visit http://www.interfaithfoodministry.org.

Interfaith Food Ministry volunteers Jack Bacon, left, and Ken Getz help load food into the back of a vehicle during Wednesday’s drive-thru food distribution off Henderson Street in Grass Valley.
Photo: Elias Funez

Scott Young is a volunteer with Interfaith Food Ministry

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