In early 2012, in the midst of the great recession, members of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Unitarian Universalist congregations got together to explore what we might be able to accomplish if we joined forces. The result was the creation of the Kelseyville Food Pantry. The group made a number of deliberate decisions. They decided there would be no qualification test. We would ask only for the individual’s names and the number of family members and the ages of the children. Another significant decision was that there would be no board of directors and no officers thus eliminating overhead.
On Tuesday March 13, 2012 the first food distribution was held at the church shared by the Methodist and Unitarian Universalist. The food pantry was open from 3:30PM until 5:30PM. A total of three people each received a bag of food that day. It was a little disappointing to say the least but the group of volunteers was not discouraged and since then the Kelseyville Food Pantry has held a food distribution every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. The most recent figures I have are for the year 2014. The average was 155 people each distribution. This represents the number of people in a family. We gave away between 50 and 80 bags of groceries each time. We estimate the cost of a bag of food to be about $45. In addition to the non-perishable items we also distributed potatoes, onions, carrots, fruit, eggs, cheese and a loaf of bread.
At our most recent distribution representatives from Catholic Charites attended to help people apply for food stamps. If you know anyone who might like to apply for Food Stamps I have several brochures in both English and Spanish that explain the program. I will leave these on the welcome table. I also have a supply of a two sided list of locations where food is distributed in Lake County. It will also be on the Welcome Table during the coffee hour.
On behalf of the Kelseyville Food Bank, I’d like to take the opportunity to express our appreciation to those people and organizations that supported the effort to feed the hungry in Lake County. These include the Riviera Market that provided fresh produce at a great price. Kelseyville High School’s Agricultural Department for allowing us to tend to the crops in their hot house during the summer when school is out. This provided a large amount of fresh produce for distribution to the needy. We have come to rely on the food drives that K-Corps, the high school, the middle school and the Riviera school, Westamerica Bank and the scouts have held and shared their donations with us before the holidays. I’d also like to give recognition to the members of our UU community as many of you have participated by donated food, money and clothing or by helping tend the hot house, to help those less fortunate than we are.
Finally, I like to recognize Sutter Lakeside Hospital for donating $5000 in 2013 and again in 2014. At the beginning of 2014 we had $9,932.36. The Pantry received $19,018.99 and spent $10,023.82 leaving a balance of $18,917.53.
I’ve presented the history and the facts and figures but there is no way I can express the feelings and emotion one experiences when looking into the eyes of someone who truly needs and appreciates the efforts you make.