The congregation of Maxwell Baptist Church came together on Sept. 8 to help launch a new monthly food distribution program in that community.
The food giveaway is part of the distribution of food provided through the Ministerial Association of Colusa County, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, and Feeding America, which have provided food for Williams families and other communities for about two years.
Pastor Jason McMullan, of the Williams Community Church, has worked to expand the food distribution program throughout Colusa County.
“Pastor Jason said he would like to open a food drive in Maxwell and approached us to see if we would like to sponsor it,” said Maxwell Baptist Pastor Malcolm White. “I said, well Yes! We’ve never done it, and it’s still a learning experience with the current protocols.”
The group, however, handed out hundreds of pounds of food, including staples like coffee, cereal, snacks, and canned goods, to about 70 families, which is far more than White or McMullan expected for a first event.
“When we first started (at the Williams Community Church), I think we had about 80 people total,” McMullan said. “Word of mouth travels. Now I think we serve about 220.”
Unlike the USDA surplus commodity program, the food comes from donations by private grocers and businesses, and is available to any family who needs food, with no income requirement. Frozen hamburger and lunch meats were also available at Maxwell’s first giveaway, and butter and cheese were given out to senior citizens while supplies lasted.
The food giveaway was held from noon to 2 PM in the Maxwell Baptist Church social hall and gymnasium, which are large enough to enforce physical distancing protocols by allowing limited people into the building as their number were called to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“It actually worked out pretty well,” said volunteer Carmen Mason.
The Maxwell Inn provided pizza and sandwiches as the noon refreshment.
McMullan said each food distribution is unique, usually with a local food business providing a brunch, lunch, or snacks, depending on the time the food is given away.
Having refreshments at the event provides an opportunity for people to visit with each other, although the pandemic has temporarily stifled large gatherings.
“It’s really a time to connect with people,” McMullan said. “This is not a bread line. That is what is important about this.”
With a new addition in distribution sites, all five communities – Colusa, Williams, Maxwell, Stonyford, and Arbuckle are represented.
Distribution will remain the second Tuesday of the month, in each community, to avoid duplication in service.
The distribution of food at the Maxwell Baptist Church went largely to Maxwell residents who received food from the program for the first time, McMullan said. ■