Food for People is Rebuilding - One Year after the Sewer Disaster
Carly Robbins, Development Director
Can you believe it’s been one year since the sewer disaster at Food for People? Are you scratching your head wondering how you never heard the story?
On February 28, 2020, hopes, dreams, money, paperwork, food, trash cans, and so much more floated out the front door of Food for People, the Food Bank for Humboldt County, on a river of city sewer water. It was a blow to their operations, especially as COVID-19 found its way to our community, stressing our local economy and food system. But worry not, Food for People rebounded quickly with the use of several leased spaces and has been working fast to distribute emergency foods to people seeking assistance across Humboldt County, including those newly impacted by the pandemic.
Now, one year later their Eureka Food Pantry continues to serve food at the temporary location at 2112 Broadway, and the rest of their operations that serve the whole Humboldt County area including the Network of 17 food pantries, Mobile Produce Pantry, Backpacks for Kids and other child nutrition programs, Senior & Homebound services, and CalFresh application assistance, are currently operating out of several leased warehouse and office spaces. Services have adapted and increased to meet the need in our community as many people struggle financially to deal with the hardships 2020 presented. But, it is only a temporary solution to a bigger issue. In order to meet the needs of the community now and into the future, Food for People needs a permanent home to address the severe food insecurity experienced by many locally. Hunger is a prevalent issue in our region. The California Center for Rural Policy’s most recent Food Access Report found that Humboldt County experiences the third-highest rate of food insecurity of California’s 58 counties. Food for People already serves 10% of our County’s population, distributing 2 million pounds of food annually – but this represents only half of the people in our county experiencing poverty, an issue that has been further strained by the pandemic and accompanying economic downturn.
But things are looking up! Back at 14th street, the water has been drained, and Food for People is on a new journey. The damaged building has been entirely demolished and construction of a new and improved facility is set to start in the next few months.
The new building will allow for exciting additions to Food for People’s services:
- Additional warehouse space will enable Food for People to better support and enhance their countywide hunger relief services.
- Make it possible for them to expand services and build space for partners to help connect people with a wider array of community support services that promote long-term stability and lead to a better quality of life.
- Expand Job Training to improve employment prospects for people experiencing adversity by providing essential work skills.
- Improve the quality of food provided by significantly expanding cold storage to prioritize healthy foods, safely accept and store more donated perishable foods and reduce food waste.
- Increase space and resources for Disaster and Emergency Response to serve everyone impacted by the pandemic, wild fires, or any other natural disasters that might occur – which has never been more important.
- Open the doors for a large, on site Choice Pantry to provide people with enough space to choose healthy foods with greater dignity to meet their personal dietary and cultural needs.
Food for People’s goal is to open their new doors for full use next fall. To make this possible, they are working to raise $5 million. Thanks to the generous support of lead donors and our community they have already received $4 million towards the project.
You can support this effort! Let’s put the dark days of 2020 behind us and look to a brighter future. Find out more at RebuildFoodforPeople.org or by contacting Food for People’s Development Director Carly Robbins at (707)445-3166 ext. 306 or email@example.com.