As Food Insecurity Rises, Volunteers Step Up
Mel Weinstein, PMC with Patric Hedlund, TME
Laborers of the Harvest in Taft is the food bank that has been providing almost all the
food to the Mountain Communities Family Resource Center (MCFRC) two times a month
since March. Laborers currently give food to about 8,000 individuals each month. Here on the mountain, Laborers of the Harvest donated food to 538 local people in June.
Food insecurity—the inability to secure the balance of foods needed to maintain health—is growing in rural areas. Nationally, food insecurity is expected to rise from 37 million
to 54 million people affected, with 18 million of those likely to be children, a Feeding America analysis said last week.
As federal unemployment insurance subsidies are ending and evictions are resuming, unemployment is increasing again too. Businesses are closing in this new covid-19 surge. The local need for food help is expected to grow even larger. It is part of a national pattern. Feeding America warns that more Americans may become food insecure this year than in the Great Depression.
Laborers of the Harvest is run by volunteers. They are coordinated by the nonprofit
Shar-On Corporation, with a workforce that follows careful guidelines for masks, gloves
and handwashing at their warehouse and feeding program.
Most the volunteers are “Homeless Warriors,” happy to work to pack food boxes for
those in need. Local Mountain Community volunteers, such as Kip and Toni Storz,
Natasha Hungerford, and A.J. Durocher caravan in their own vehicles to transport
food from the warehouse in Taft to the food pantry at the Family Resource Center in Frazier Park.
A documentary film is being made of the Laborers of the Harvest efforts, and a grant
writer is working to help keep supplies flowing. But they need our help right now.
Please go to their website, LaborersOfTheHarvest.org. look for the “donate" button
to contribute. Any amount is appreciated. If they don't stay open, one of the largest sources of food to our Mountain Communities will end.
Mel Weinstein is on the boards of the MCFRC, Shar-On Corporation and Laborers of the Harvest.