Northwest Herald | Churches collect food for area pantries.
This is a great way to serve the community as a body of believers. We have one church small group that gives to fresh oranges YAS regularly which is Mars Hill OC. They collect oranges from around the city of Orange and bring them to us to redistribute to those in need. Thanks Mars Hill OC!
Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orange variety. USDA photo. Image Number K3644-12. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Americans struggling for food
The perception of Orange County is that it is a wealthy community. But this is not true for hundreds of thousands of residents. The recession and collapse of the local construction industry have negatively impacted countless families and individuals. Many have lost jobs and homes. And many are hungry. They include families with young children, struggling college students and seniors living alone on meager social security checks. These are people new to YAS food lines and now stand shoulder to shoulder with chronically homeless individuals who first received distributed food.
Those in line waiting for food
In Orange County, 12.2% of the residents live in poverty having incomes below the poverty line up from 8.9% in 2007. For a family of four living in Orange County, this is an annual income of $21,027 or less. Also, 30.4% of Orange County Households are unable to meet their basic needs, 90.9% of these households are working families . The number of families with school age children who live in poverty is alarming. The California Department of Education reports that 1 out of 6 school age children (ages 5 to 17) living in Orange County live in poverty. In Orange County, 177,650 children (23.4%) face food insecurity, with about 46% unlikely to qualify for federal nutrition programs. Further, Second Harvest Food Bank Orange County reports that nearly half of the public school children rely on reduced or free lunches for their major source of nutrition. This means that more than 200,000 children may go to bed hungry on weekends and during school vacations.
We are not sure how the next year is going to go but most of those who receive food from us do work but are not able to pay food costs.
Thank you to those who serve and give to this program.
What is a food pantry?
A food pantry is a charitable organization that distributes food and other products directly to those in need. Usually based on emergency or short term basis. (This is what we do!) For people like Hal who is 97 years old. He is retired from Disneyland as a bell hop in one of the hotels. I cannot believe he is 97, can you?
What is a food bank?
A nonprofit that solicits, receives, inventories, stores and distributes food and other products to various charitable agencies which tends to charge a fee to agencies in order to cover their costs.
The differences between food pantries and food banks are these:
As an agency, we do not charge a fee but we do pay a fee for food received from our food bank. We are very thankful for the food we are able to get but we do still pay agency fees which for us can be anywhere from 600.00 to 800.00 per month. A food pantry is where the local community can come and receive food for themselves and their family for no cost so we get to know the people personally (which we all love). A food pantry keeps the food local to those in the area of the location or the general surrounding area.
This is Francisco- he has had both knees worked on and can barely walk. He brings us avocados from his tree.
In SoCal areas, a quarter of families can’t afford enough food: report
|One in five Americans said they had trouble affording enough food at times last year, according to a new report from the Food Research and Action Center. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Last year, nearly one in five Americans said that they couldn’t afford enough food, according to a new report. About a quarter of residents in parts of Southern California said the same.
During the 12 months of 2011, 18.6% of families across the country said that at times there wasn’t enough money to buy food, according to the Food Research and Action Center. That’s up from 18% in 2010 and the highest annual rate in the four years that the organization has put out its annual food hardship report.
Every Tuesday a dedicated group of people unbeknownst to many come and sort the food that You Are Special gives out every single Wednesday to the low income, working poor, homeless and just plain struggling in Orange and the surrounding cities of Santa Ana, El Modena, Anaheim, Tustin and Villa Park. They sort the food that many grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s, Albertson’s, Pacific Ranch Market, Ralph’s, Chipotle and even Starbucks donates and gives to us, a little ole food pantry in this wonderful city of Orange. A city that many think is just a bubble in Orange County. We are surrounded by wealth but beneath the surface are those that struggle especially during this time and season of economic hardship.
Well, this week we had a wonderful new fresh company start up, come and volunteer to help sort the food out for tomorrow, Dura Doggie . Elaine contacted me and asked how they could help us, so we told them. Their company spent several hours listening to our stories, sorting fruits and vegetables, bread, unloading heavy boxes and became part of the organization for a day.
Thank you Dura Doggie for being so generous in supporting YAS with your time and hard work!
Image via Wikipedia
After feeding those in need today which was about 261 families, a little more than we ususually give out too, a man stopped by and popped in the door of You Are Special and approached my son, Caleb. He asked, “Is this the food pantry?” to which Caleb responded, “yes but we are all out of food.” Jason responded with , “no, no, I am not here to get food but to drop off some money.” Very surprised Caleb responded with, “Wow, well go right over there and you’ll find the person you need to talk to.” So Jason came over and met my husband Eric who then brought me out. Jason preceded to tell us that he and his family have some piggy bank jars lined up in their house and they put money in there for different purposes and one of those purposes was to give to YAS, a local food pantry. Needless to say that was extremely generous and kind to think of us. The amount does not matter but the heart of giving does.
Right now the economy is challenging and many people are hurting and have a basic need to feed their families. We serve whoever has a need no questions asked the unemployed, the homeless, the working poor, children, the destitute, the single parents, the youth out of college that do not have jobs right now, and the elderly which make up almost half of who we give too. It breaks my heart. One lady told me that she is feeding her family of 30 this weekend for Chinese New Year. I would have liked to help her more but we just don’t have the finance capability to do that.
We so appreciate those who stop by like Jason and his wife Jennifer and for that we are thankful for their generosity and their heart.
It is that time of year again. We at You Are Special love this time of the year. We all get geared up for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner food giveaway at our local food pantry. Some call us a food bank but we are a food pantry. There are many organizations helping this year such as Stater Bros, Albertsons, Ralphs and Pacific Ranch in Orange, Tustin, Villa Park and SantaAna.
We laugh together, we cry together with those who are struggling this year such as the new 18 year old who is now standing in line every week for food for her family. She attends the local college, Rancho Santiago up the street from us but her family is working hard but do not have enough money to buy food for their family.
In line to sign up for the dinners
We also received a phone all from the local community college to see if we accepted college students to receive a Thanksgiving Dinner. Of course we said yes.
Our desire is to give local and feed local. Our food and finances go to those in our local area and the surrounding areas who have a need for food. We want to be what we are called to be and that is a charity giving to those less fortunate that us with love.
See you at the stores!
This is one of the most fun times of the year for us as a group of volunteers at a food bank preparing to give away Thanksgiving food for the holidays.
The huge line we have weekly!
As many as 77% of those in Orange County who are low income or below poverty do not qualify for food stamps and that is fine with us because we are here to help those in need. YAS is a local food bank in Orange County serving the elderly, the working poor, those who have lost their jobs, those who have been affected by the economy, Tustin, Santa Ana, El Modena, Villa Park, and Orange.
Our desire is to support the end of the month paycheck with a basic need of food. Thanks to the many donations from Pacific Ranch, Albertsons, Ralphs, the Restaurant Depot and Trader Joes, people who might otherwise not have food for their family can come to You Are Special on Wednesday’s to get some fresh fruits and vegtables, meat and dairy to help sustain thier paychecks or those not working.
Preparing to give away our Wednesday food Nov 3, 2011
Thank you for the volunteers who work so diligently!
Our faithful Van!