In a world of plenty, no one should go hungry, even during a pandemic.
That is why Colusa County’s food assistance, including school breakfast and lunch programs, commodity distributions, and food banks, continue to hum with activity to make sure no one goes without food during this time of uncertainty.
“Right now, even in our agency, we are seeing a lot more people coming in requesting food assistance, as people are getting laid off,” said Colusa County Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Kelly. “If they have a child in the home, then they would probably qualify.”
Each school district is also making sure that children receive food despite the closure of school due to coronavirus.
Staff with the Colusa County Office of Education handed out a week’s worth of breakfast and lunch on Monday for the duration of spring break. CCOE prepared meals from over 20,000 foods such as fruits, vegetables, heat and serve items, juice, and milk for over 600 students.
“The support from not only our community but CCOE really does make all the hard work so rewarding,” said Food Service Supervisor, Angela Fulcher. “I am not sure how long the current situation will continue but my staff is prepared to continue its service to our community.”
In addition to school breakfast and lunch programs, there are a number of food programs operating within Colusa County, particularly the local Family Action Centers, which have a number of food assistant programs.
Williams, Colusa, and Arbuckle Family Action Centers programs include “Feeding America,” a partnership with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano counties.
The Family Action centers also operates the Eat Well & Kids Farmers Market, in partnership with the Yolo Food Bank to provide fresh produce twice a month, and the Commodity supplemental senior food box program, provided one Friday of each month.
Colusa Family Resource Center and Child Abuse Prevention Council offer shelf stable items every month to those in need by providing food and food shopping cards.
In addition to these specific food programs, commodity distribution is held monthly in each city and community within Colusa County.
In 2019, 145,670 pounds of food were distributed to 4,922 households or 15,012 individuals, according to Colusa County Health and Human Services.
Local Church pantries provided by the Ministerial Association of Colusa County are also in full operation.
Food is available to anyone in need without registration and qualification.
In Colusa, food is available at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 9 AM-Noon each Saturday, and Colusa Assembly of God, 9AM-Noon, Tuesday and Thursday.
The Williams Community Church provides food from 10 AM-3 PM, Monday-Friday.
The Arbuckle Community Church provides food from Noon-3 PM on Tuesday.
The First Presbyterian Church of Colusa continues to operate “A Hand Up” as take-out.
Last week, the USDA authorized California to allow residents who receive CalFresh (food stamps) benefits to soon buy food online.
“Enabling people to purchase food online will go a long way in helping Americans follow CDC social distancing guidelines and help slow the spread of the coronavirus,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in a press release.
Six other states, including Oregon and Washington, already have the pilot program up and running that allows for the purchase of groceries from participating retailers, including Walmart and Amazon.
There are also numerous volunteers in the community assisting senior citizens and at-risk individuals with their grocery and prescription needs. ■