Sharing the Bounty

By on Dec 31, 2018 in Giving, People

Food strengthens the body and propels the mind. Yet one in six residents of Ventura County struggle with food insecurity. Seniors are among the vulnerable population. The local food bank and volunteers work together to end hunger, helping seniors thrive in their golden years.

Ventura County Food Insecurity

An inability to access healthy food impacts multiple areas of a person’s life. Hardworking people must make daily sacrifices that affect their health and wellbeing.  Of the food insecure in Ventura County, 69 percent must choose between food and utilities. More than 65 percent must choose between food and medical care

Among the food insecure that must make those tough calls, roughly 46,650 are seniors. Ventura County’s Agency on Aging reports that “approximately 39 percent of all elders aged 65 and older do not have enough income to meet their most basic needs.”

The inaccessibility of fresh, nutritious food leads to a reliance on more affordable but less healthy options. As a result of this and other factors, 58 percent of households have a member with high blood pressure with 77 percent occurring in senior homes. About 33 percent of households in the county have a member with diabetes with 47 percent in senior households.

Volunteering with Food Share

Food Share of Ventura County aims to improve seniors’ quality of life. Each year, Food Share stores and distributes nearly 11 million pounds of food to those in need. The Food Share program serves nutritious meals to 74,500 people every month, about 3,100 of which are seniors.

Senior programming prepares boxes of food including items such as canned fruits, vegetables, salmon, cereal, milk, peanut butter, fruit juice, and spaghetti.

The nonprofit organization relies on the help of 190 pantry partners as well as volunteers. Ten Yardi Santa Barbara recently volunteered with Food Share. They accepted the challenge to fill as many pallets as possible, each with 40 boxes of food. The team successfully loaded seven pallets, or about 280 boxes of food in two hours.

Beau Pellowski, Cloud Systems Administrator, was among the Yardi volunteers. “Each person had a different role in the process from making the boxes, packing each individual food item–one person for each different food–weighing each box, taping it, then putting it on the pallet in a certain fashion,” he explained.

“Overall it was a great event, it went by very fast and we all had a good time doing it!” said Pellowski.

The boxes are quickly put to good use. Food Share delivers some boxes to eligible seniors. Others seniors pick up their meals. The processes is repeated every month, so Food Share consistently needs volunteers. It is invaluable work benefitting some of the nation’s most vulnerable people.

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