In response to dramatically increased levels of food insecurity, Food Share, Ventura County’s largest hunger-relief organization, has expanded its operations through a generous donation of a temporary lease of a 37,000 square foot warehouse in Oxnard.
The addition of the new space is thanks to Lawrence Joss, owner of Surfaces USA, who has provided the warehouse for free for a minimum of three months while the building is on the market to be sold. The 146th Airlift Wing of the CA Air National Guard provided key logistical support to Food Share staff during the move to help set up the new space for the packing of emergency food boxes.
“We were bursting at the seams trying to store and distribute the additional food we’ve had to bring in to meet the current level of need,” commented Monica White, President & CEO of Food Share. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we’ve increased the amount of food we purchase a month from $50,000 to $300,000. Lawrence understood the problem that was being created at our existing warehouse facility and stepped forward without hesitation. We are beyond grateful for his support for us and our community.”
“I know as a person of privilege and resources that I need to step off of the sidelines and participate in actively sharing,” said Joss. “I know this is a minor offering but I’m hoping that people like me will be willing to get off the sidelines and out of the comfort of the systems that we disproportionately benefit from to be creative and share something for the benefit of all.”
Even in normal circumstances, 1 in 6 people in Ventura County experiences food insecurity, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal will be coming from. Typically, individuals and families using food pantries do so on an occasional basis, often to cope with unexpected expenses like medical bills or car repairs. However, as the mass layoffs, furloughs and reduced working hours caused COVID-19 pandemic have taken hold, the number of people experiencing food insecurity has skyrocketed. Food Share has served more than 120,000 individuals in just the past two months. Many people attending the more than 50 emergency drive-thru food distributions that Food Share have held over the past two months are first-time recipients of food aid.
Up-to-date information on temporary pantry closures, pop-up distribution sites and emergency volunteer opportunities will be posted at foodshare.com/covid19/ and on Food Share’s social media channels.
For information on free Senior Food Kit distributions please go to foodshare.com/seniorkits.
VCAAA also has information and resources for seniors at vcaaa.org/covid-19/
You can make a donation in support of Food Share at foodshare.com/give
Since 1978, Food Share has been feeding the hungry in Ventura County. It all began when eight friends banded together to provide food to those in need in Ventura, CA. The early philanthropic movement started in a family garage, quickly outgrew a donated fire station in Saticoy and now operates in Oxnard, CA with two warehouses with a combined 36,000 square feet. Today, staff and volunteers distribute over 13 million pounds of food, or over 11 million meals, annually through its 190 pantry and program partners. As Ventura County’s food bank, Food Share provides food for 75,000 hungry friends and neighbors monthly. Food Share is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, as well as the California Association of Food Banks. For more information about Food Share, visit www.foodshare.com. Find us on Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter.