As national poverty levels increase, more families are taking advantage of local food banks and giveaways year-round and especially during the holiday season.
“We know that our community is hurting, and we believe that those people who stand in line up to two hours to get food are standing there for a reason. We have working populations that are living in poverty,” said Jackie Bess, a member of Second Baptist and volunteer with the giveaway program.
The food giveaway program at Second Baptist Church in Vallejo seeks to help alleviate this need by giving food to individuals and families in the community.
Started in 1987 by Dr. Fleetwood Irving, the church gives out groceries every third Wednesday in partnership with their local food bank.
The next giveaway will be held Wednesday, Dec. 18 from 11 a.m. to noon at Second Baptist Church, 1170 Benicia Road in Vallejo. In the holiday spirit, children will also receive gifts from Santa.
Clara Graves, director of the program for the past 15 years, has seen a growing need among many local families.
To receive a bag of groceries, all you have to do is show up, Bess said. “We believe that it’s not worth looking at it from a position of who qualifies and who doesn’t,” she says.
“If you’re willing to stand in line and wait, we’re willing to give it. We just ask every one who comes in to give us their names and the number of people in their family.”
Bess says the program has been very consistent and looks forward to partnering with other agencies to increase its impact. The staff hopes to expand their food giveaways to once a week in the beginning of the year.
“We’d love to see it weekly, that’s our ambition,” Bess said.” If we put our efforts along with others, we can serve more of the community.”
Bess will become director of the program in the New Year.
“I’m hoping that not only do we accelerate the food giveaway but that we can also possibly go out into some of the local parks and give to the homeless, she said.
For more information, contact Second Baptist Church at (707) 643-6496.