Even though it’s without a home and is no longer taking donations of food, the Community Assistance Network is still making sure people are fed.
CAN stopped distributing food boxes from its former home at 355 Standard Veneer Rd. on Nov. 10 and was required to vacate the building on Friday. But, according to director Stuart Nichols, volunteers at the faith-based nonprofit still pick up food six days a week and bring it community partners including Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grace Lutheran Church, Surf Apartments and Crescent City Senior Apartments.
“We’re collaborating with Our Daily Bread to get food to them twice a week,” Nichols said. “Grace Lutheran has a small food bank also, so we’re delivering there, and twice a week we’re going to different senior apartments. We’re still getting the food out to the community.”
Meanwhile the search for a new building continues, Nichols said. CAN representatives found one property that would have suited the organization, but the rent was about $1,000 more than it could afford, he said.
“If 50 people donated $50, we’d have it,” Nichols said. “We’re no longer taking donations at 355 Standard Veneer Road, but if (the public) sees the cause as worthy if they continue donating, we might be able to afford a new building.”
Until CAN finds a new home, Rural Human Services has stepped in to fill the gap. Ron Phillips, food and family services director for RHS, said the organization has increased its distribution of emergency food boxes to twice a week. Food bank recipients can receive a food box in addition to the USDA commodities box they receive, he said.
“We’ll do what we can to make sure that people are being fed,” Phillips said.
Phillips said RHS’s food bank is a bit different than CAN’s. CAN volunteers were able to get day-old bread, milk products and produce from Safeway and Walmart. However, RHS doesn’t have the space to break down those items items for individual boxes, Phillips said.
“Right now I have a ton of canned goods and I have more coming,” he said. “I have the Boy Scout (food) drive and the hospital drive at the holiday time and I have the post office. We used to split that food with (CAN) 50/50. If they’re not in operation then we would have all that food.”
A donation of $1,500 to Rural Human Services from Sutter Health will also help the food bank feed its recipients as the community heads into the holidays. According to a Sutter Health press release, Sutter Coast Hospital staff are in the middle of the seventh-annual holiday food drive that benefits food banks in Crescent City and Brookings.
Last year, the hospital’s food drive brought in nearly 2,500 pounds of food, according to the press release.
The Community Food Council, which was awarded Community Development Block Grant dollars that Crescent City reallocated away from Rural Human Services, is making plans for its own food pantry, however it has yet to receive those CDBG funds, said Food Projects Coordinator Connor Caldwell.
“We’re waiting to hear from the state when it’s actually going to show up,” Caldwell said, adding that he’s hoping the CDBG funds will arrive in January. “It probably won’t be until 2018; we don’t know when that money’s coming through.”
The new food pantry will be a partnership between the Food Council and the Family Resource Center of the Redwoods, Caldwell said. It will operate out of a room that’s currently used for storage at the FRC and will likely operate two to three days a week, he said.
“It’ll be a choice pantry, which will be different compared to other food banks, which are you come up and they hand you your box and you have all your commodities,” Caldwell said. “In a choice pantry people will be allowed to come in, we’ll process them at the door and we’ll just have a bunch of food set up on shelves and they can shop from what we have available.”
Even though it’s without a home currently, people can still support CAN monetarily, Nichols said. He pointed out that last year the organization diverted 477,000 pounds of food waste by distributing it back into the community. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 795, Crescent City, CA 95531.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .