California has emerged as the leader in the COVID-19 fight, not the leader in stopping this virus. California is now the leader in COVID-19 cases in the United States, surpassing New York. Helping to push the state towards achieving this bleak goal is San Bernardino County, which reported on Wednesday, July 22nd, 708 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional virus-related deaths. Confirming 25,775 cases of COVID-19 in the county — the fourth-highest case total in the state –– and 337 virus-related deaths, according to the County’s Dashboard.
This cyclical Coronavirus experience has broken our state and local economy, recently causing the largest increase in unemployment claims in California in the last three months, leaving community stakeholders and coalition builders to pick up the pieces.
On Friday, July 24th, Assemblymember Eloise Reyes convened 6 organizations and groups of volunteers to distribute over a thousand food boxes to community members in need. The drive-thru food distribution event took place at Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino and served over 1,000 families.
“This week’s unemployment claim report is concerning, and the 1,000 families that we distributed food to today reminds us of the need in our community,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “If we do not flatten this curve, unfortunately, this is going to get worse. We have to do better.”
Partnership organizations included in the food distribution event: the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Nutrition Program, San Bernardino City Unified School District, Cal Fresh, San Bernardino Teachers Association and For The People Task Force.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in 10 people in San Bernardino struggled to feed their families. Sadly, by the end of 2020, based on the projection by Feeding America, the number will increase by 50 %, that is, one in 6 families in our county may not have enough money to put food on the table! We are here to support and collaborate with our community partners who come together to find a solution, bringing food access to everyone, so that they can keep their families healthy even in crisis,” said Yen Ang, DrPH, MS, MPH, RD, Supervising Public Health Nutritionist, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.
“Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC) has a long-standing relationship working on poverty related issues with Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes. We are proud of the partnerships we have forged and honored to once again partner with her office, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Nutrition Program, San Bernardino County Unified School District, and the San Bernardino Teachers Association as we continue our commitment to serve our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Patricia L. Nickols-Butler, President and Chief Executive Officer. “For the past 55 years, CAPSBC has been addressing poverty and food insecurity in our communities and remains steadfast in our commitment to continue serving the needs of those impacted by this pandemic. We have seen firsthand the increased demand for food assistance and other vital services, and we are pleased to support this event with over 1,600 food boxes to assist families struggling to put food on the table during these unprecedented times.”
The community is feeling the direct impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, resident, Beatrice Guerra was asked what brought her out to the event today, she stated, “food is getting expensive, so these events are helping me to use the money I have to pay my other bills that are starting to pile up because of the impact COVID-19 pandemic has had on my finances.”
Resident Angel Huerta of San Bernardino lost his job because of COVID and because of his medical condition it is hard for him to find a job that does not put him at risk of contracting COVID-19. He said he currently has no income and is in need of groceries because he did not benefit from the stimulus payments.