326 holiday meal boxes were distributed to those in need during Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB) holiday drive-thru distribution on Friday, December 17th, 2021. More than just an event, FARSB delivered hope to families and those in need for the upcoming holidays.
Hundreds of cars lined up at the FARSB drive-through distribution event, each car filled with recipients carrying a unique story of their own. “We thought we wouldn’t have a holiday meal this year,” stated Connie, an older adult from the community, “We’re on a fixed income and with the pandemic, it’s been hard. My husband can’t walk so I’m left to do all the errands. We can now fix dinner for our family, this is a true blessing.”
Further down the waiting line was Maribel, “This is my first time at a distribution. I just had my baby last week and drove out here to make sure we have a holiday meal, I’m not working right now.” Connie and Maribel are among the thousands of residents experiencing food insecurity in the Inland Empire. FARSB’s operation addresses the growing needs by strategically implementing programs, developing partnerships, and improving access through the use of innovative models to streamline efforts.
As the largest food bank serving both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, FARSB is working diligently to develop programs to address the varying needs from community to community. This work often depends on efficient and easy-to-use technology for their internal and external operation efforts. Working with Redlands-based Company, Esri, FARSB utilizes innovative GIS mapping to pinpoint areas of need and dispatch volunteers to food-insecure households through the Homebound Emergency Relief Outreach (HERO) program. This technology allows the food bank to get a birds-eye-view of the communities most impacted by food insecurity, collect and analyze commonalities amongst varying communities, and streamline volunteer efforts to quickly meet the need of those requesting assistance.
With an upcoming new year, volunteers and donations can make a difference in FARSB’s fight against hunger. Monetary donations can specifically make a difference as funds can be utilized to tackle the most urgent and pressing needs, with each dollar helping to provide up to 7 meals. To find a local food distribution site near you or to donate visit www.feedingIE.org.