The other day someone from the Placer County Food Bank showed up at the church in Roseville where we were distributing food. She arrived with her son and armed with a camera. Her goal was to write an article about us for their publication.
Well, turnabout is fair play, as the saying goes.
Her main interest was why don’t we use their services in Roseville? It was a fair question. I will try to give you the same answer.
Let me preface this response as this concerns the Roseville operation only. Each of the other operations works somewhat differently. Still, she was at Roseville and wanted to know about Roseville.
We get most of the food from local merchants. We buy it retail from the over the counter shelves and pay full retail price for it, just like any other consumer. We are big consumers of Winco, Sam’s club, and Costco’s food offerings. We get the coffee, crackers, creamers, and hot cereals, and most of the canned products from Winco; the tuna, spoons, napkins, candy, fruit and the drinks from Costco; and the granola bars, noodles, tea and other items from Sam’s club. We shop and compare prices to always find the best bargain.
We divide the shopping among several people, just like the other chores so that no single person need do it all.
The reason that we don’t use the food bank is that most of the items that they offer us are perishable. They have a short shelf-life. We can’t store them in a climate-controlled place and the food would spoil. It is better that they supply those organizations with their products than waste them on us because we would have to discard so much due to spoilage. No one would want bananas that have all turned brown because they were three weeks old.
Now, the response is different if we talk about the operation in Auburn and Colfax. In those sites we do, almost exclusively, use the supplies from the Placer Food Bank. The reason for that is that we have access to a kitchen and storage facilities that we lack in Roseville. We can prepare hot meals, and store the supplies needed to make then.
So, there you have it as it relates to WWJD?.
I would like to also note that on many days during the week, the Catholic church, St. Rose of Lima, offers a sack lunch to the homeless of Roseville. We distribute their lunches as far as they go from our van. The church gets much of the food supplies for the lunches from the food bank. So, while we don’t directly use the food bank, others in Roseville do.
I look forward to her story of our operation. It is a shame that the homeless people that she tried to talk to felt uneasy speaking with her. Perhaps she represented too much of an authority figure. I do not know exactly why she did not get much cooperation from them. I suppose that it is simply a matter of trust and that takes some time to build. We trust them. They trust us. And to a “stranger”, who comes in asking questions, the trust factor would be very low.
I would also like to add that the solution to the problem of homelessness is too vast. No single agency or government entity can solve it. It will take the teamwork of all those involved. So, I welcome the Placer County Food Bank, the Churches, and all other organizations that attempt to aid the homeless. It is a never-ending but rewarding job.
God bless us, everyone!
— Tiny Tim (1951)