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Food giveaway in Fountain Valley helps families deal with coronavirus

Volunteers help load Worldwide Produce pre-boxed groceries during a drive-through food giveaway.
Volunteers help load Worldwide Produce pre-boxed groceries for 1,000 families during a drive-through food giveaway hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley at Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park.
(Kevin Chang / Times Community News)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been encouraged to stay at home.

Leaving the house for the grocery store could be considered a risky activity. Affording groceries has also become an issue for some who have been unable to work due to the pandemic.

A drive-through food giveaway put on by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley last week solved both problems for about 1,000 families at the Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park.

Fountain Valley Mayor Cheryl Brothers was among a group of about 75 staff members and volunteers who helped distribute the food. Boxes of groceries containing 30 to 40 pounds of dairy products and produce were put in the trunks of cars for contactless delivery.

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“In Fountain Valley, getting volunteers to come and help with an event like this is never a problem,” Brothers said. “We always have volunteers. In that regard, we’re a very generous community.

“The fact that the Boys & Girls Club kind of takes the lead on this is good. They’re in a position where they see a need with our younger population that most people may not be quite as aware of. They’re very connected to the community, so for them to gather up the volunteers is always good.”

Laura Garcia, 22, of Midway City said she lost her job at a restaurant in Seal Beach because of the pandemic, and she appreciated the community coming together to help those in need.

“This is really helpful because right now, I’m not working, so it’s a little hard to buy groceries and stuff,” Garcia said. “The fact that a lot of different people are willing and helping to make food drives honestly is a really big help.”

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The food distribution event was held in partnership with the city of Fountain Valley, Worldwide Produce and the U.S Department of Agriculture.

“People are really the most excited about the quality of the food because the USDA’s program allows us to bring in fresh produce and dairy,” said Jane Cowan of Worldwide Produce. “That helps our farmers that were having to waste quite a bit, but also, people are getting grocery-store or restaurant-quality produce and dairy, where as normally, a bulk donation is items that can no longer be sold.

“It requires labor from the charity to sort through it or distribute immediately, due to the expiration dates and everything. All this is shelf stable for several weeks.”

Tanya Hoxsie, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley, said that her organization never closed because of the pandemic, providing childcare for essential workers.

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“Every day makes us feel like we’re making a difference, but this [food giveaway] is just so instant, seeing how happy the people are going through,” Hoxsie said. “What’s really neat is that we’re one of 14 Boys & Girls Club organizations in Orange County. All of the clubs, in their own way, are doing these kinds of things every week.”

Turner writes for Times Community News.


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