Hunger Ministry: January 2021 by the Numbers

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Unfortunately, food insecurity continues to increase in our community.

The Hunger Ministry has continued to see an increase in food insecurity in January. Check out January 2021 by the numbers in the infographic above.

Where do we get the food?

We were blessed this month with a substantial donation of 1,000+ food items (canned & packaged) from BAPS Charities, a national Hindu organization, and their local Mandir temple. It was coordinated by State Senator Josh Newman and Second Harvest. If you missed our previous post and would like to see photos and read more please click here.

We receive donations from our congregation and Second Harvest Food Bank of OC. We also rescue food from two Walmart Neighborhood Market #3099 and Market #3101, and a Ralph’s. Each week volunteers drive to these locations to pick up the food. We pick up over 2,700 pounds of food between these three locations. Our congregation helps supply boxes, bags, and other items that we do not receive from Second Harvest, Ralph’s, or Walmart.

What kinds of food donations do we receive?

Our Hunger Ministry is blessed to get fresh produce, deli items, frozen meals, bread, baked goods, frozen meat, bottled water, and even food for pets from the local Walmart Markets and Ralph’s. Second Harvest has provided fresh eggs, fresh tortillas, fresh produce, frozen hams, canned vegetables, dry beans, pasta, canned proteins, canned fruits, milk, snacks, cereal, oats, and much more.

When does the volunteer work happen?

Saturday or Sunday, volunteers fold and tape boxes for our food packers.

Tuesday, volunteers pack 70 boxes and about 15 bagged lunches.

Wednesday, volunteers pick-up 2,500~ pounds of food. They sort and weigh the donations (for reporting). Food is then put away in its appropriate location. East Building is set-up for distribution.

Thursday, volunteers distribute the boxes, bags, and fresh items. 

How is the Hunger Ministry of AUMC funded?

Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County continues to be a dedicated partner in the fight to end food insecurity. As mentioned in previous articles, we use to purchase food in bulk for 15 cents or less per pound. Second Harvest has now moved to a no-cost model. Now that food is free; we can assist more people.

At the end of August, Second Harvest contacted us about their food rescue program. We felt it would be a great way to expand our hunger ministry. We have partnered with a Walmart Neighborhood Market and Ralph’s. This food is also at no cost since we are helping to divert the food from the landfill. New shipments, imperfections, overstock, or best used by dates are the most common reasons to discard.

We are also grateful to Waste Not OC Coalition, who weekly picks up our Second Harvest order. Without their large refrigerated truck, we would have to make several trips to get our order without a pallet jack. Our deepest gratitude to Waste Not OC and their commitment to helping us end food insecurity. 

The final line of support is from the congregation. From your contributions to the church’s work to your donation of items, your generosity abounds and leads us to expand our support of the surrounding community and congregation. 

Looking Forward

Our community continues to face food insecurity due to the pandemic. We hope that the COVID-19 vaccination program is successful.

The Provisions team is currently exploring the ability to add a late afternoon or early evening distribution time. We know that it would help families or individuals who may be working during our daytime pick-up.

How can I help?

There are so many ways you can be a part of this vitally necessary ministry. Here are a few:

  1. SAVE your plastic and paper (with handles) shopping bags and drop them off at the church on Thursdays from 10 am until 2 pm. We use these to bag the additional fresh or frozen items.
  2. DONATE to Missions/Outreach. A donation of $50 will purchase packing supplies for a week. 
  3. Please SHARE this link to the short registration form on your social media or tell friends to visit our website and click on the Food Pantry section on the homepage.
  4. VOLUNTEER your time. You can do some tasks alone or tasks with 1-2 other masked and socially distanced volunteers.