August 4, 2022

I.V. Food Bank Pandemic Response

Each year, there seems to be a photograph that sums up the year. The photo above is just that for 2020. Taken at our first drive-thru distribution, it includes IVFB Board Members, Staff, National Guard members and volunteers all bravely distributing food to people during a pandemic. All at a time when we really did not know that much about the disease. It also shows a resilient organization willing to be as creative as can be to change its years-old operational model to adapt services to protect staff as well as those we serve.

The struggles of 2020 will hopefully never be repeated in our lifetimes. In March of that year, Governor Newsom declared food service workers "essential." As such, we never stopped working! Other people worked from home; we came to work every day. Schools closed, which impacted some of our staff, and we made an empty office into a place for those children to attend class. We had to social distance, so employees' spread out in the large kitchen everyone to their own table - which continues today. When seniors and college students - the core of our volunteers - were not able to assist us, the assistance from the National Guard, County workers and Work Force Development funds hiring Work Experience program participants has helped us tremendously through the year. We wear masks in the halls, we take our temperature daily and we taught ourselves the new COVID OSHA rules to stay in compliance. The changes needed to adapt in this pandemic climate have been demanding. And we have risen to the challenge. Our hope is to learn from these challenges and adaptations moving forward. Are there things we have learned that can help us achieve our mission in the future in serving our community? We will have to see what next year's photo is!