Community Action Partnership needs volunteers, endures 17 food distribution cancellations

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CAPSBC volunteers and team members packing boxes of food amidst high food demands in response to COVID-19.

Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC) continues to cope with the increase of food demand in the county, during the COVID-19 crisis.

Despite the increased food demand during these uncertain times, many of its partnered agencies are forced to cancel planned food distributions due to the lack of protective equipment to distribute food to the community.

“We are backfilling food distribution cancellations. Throughout March and April we have had 17 out of our 250 agencies cancel their distributions,” said Patricia Nickols-Butler, president and chief executive officer.

She shared that CAPSBC recently conducted a survey to garner its agencies’ prominent needs during the public health crisis.

“Through the survey it was evident that there is an increased need for food. They are indicating that they need face masks and gloves for volunteers,” continued Nickols-Butler.

CAPSBC and many of its agencies have also been hit hard by a decrease in volunteers.

“Many of our volunteers are seniors…which are vulnerable to COVID-19; we have been significantly impacted by this. Our need for volunteers at this time is high and we recently put out a call for volunteers to assist with packing boxes of food in our warehouse,” Nickols-Butler said.

Although many may be concerned regarding volunteer opportunities at this time, CAPSBC is complying with all COVID-19 practices for the safety of its volunteers, employees and community.

“Before starting work, we have our volunteers go through an orientation, which includes a CDC COVID-19 practice portion. We are providing masks and gloves to every single volunteer and staff is also overseeing them to make sure they are complying with the guidelines. Once they are in their work space they are distanced at least six feet apart,” shared Nickols-Butler.

With all of the continuous hurdles CAPSBC and its partner agencies are facing during these uncertain times, they’re still finding new innovative ways to provide essential needs to its underserved population.

“We recently received a grant from Edison which has supported our efforts in securing more food. We currently have food distribution drives in our forthcoming plans, along with home delivery distribution to seniors; through this our goal is to serve over 1,000 households,” Nickols-Butler said.

One of CAPSBC’s new innovative methods of garnering food donations is through a virtual food drive, a partnership with local Inland Empire radio stations KOLA 99.9 and KCAL 96.7.

“Supporting our virtual food drive is easy. You select from the various food categories and an amount to give, CAPSBC Food Bank purchases nutritious foods with your generous donations, and the food is distributed to those in the need. Give on your own or build a team and recruit family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues,” concluded Nickols-Butler.

For more information, visit https://www.capsbc.org.