By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
The San Bernardino Mountain communities offer many opportunities for those who are in need of food. The week before Christmas, bountiful opportunities for food from many locations were offered for whoever needed some. Most of these locations offer some food each month, but the week before Christmas all the places offered fresh food.
Delanna Covarrubias through her Kvell Facebook page offers free food boxes to the Running Springs and Crestline communities every Thursday at the Running Springs Hootman Senior Center and the Crestline First Baptist Church. Because of the holiday, on Wednesday the 23rd, she had not only the boxes but an extra bag of food and Christmas stockings for the children.
These Kvell giveaways will continue weekly into the new year, with the assistance of the Crestline-Lake Gregory Rotary Club.
New Life Christian Fellowship in Top Town Crestline on the 23rd gave out 120 boxes of food, including milk, yogurt, chicken, chili, potatoes, apples and canned fruits. They give out food every Sunday afternoon, as well as most Wednesday mornings, at 23484 Lake Drive, said Paul, who was distributing the boxes.
On Christmas Eve, a free hot meal was served on the lot located next to 7-Eleven. Rim Relief and RimFeeders served chicken patties, chili, plus spaghetti and meatballs. As Michelle Kennedy described it, “Nothing special – it was just warm and filling.” Kennedy has done so much this season supporting toy and food giveaways from Crestline to Running Springs, helping Rochelle Dafnis’ RimRelief Facebook group to coordinate the food giveaways and help families in need.
Kennedy was there from 11 a.m. to around noon. While there, they also gave away jackets. “We served fried rice made by Joy Jolley-Arnold, spaghetti and meatballs by Alex Mendoza, chicken patties and chili made by me, rolls and peppermint candy treats donated by Kimberly Estrada and New Life Church. Roni Bailey donated homemade gingerbread man cookies.
“Alex, my daughter and I served up about 40 meals into containers and served about 10 while there, while giving out new jackets to whoever asked. The jackets were donated by Mrs. De Fernandez. I also took meals to the street in VOE and Top Town to locate those who might need a meal. Alex took 15 meals and gave them to the homeless and those in need,” said Kennedy.
This meal giveaway is a continuation of the meals given out monthly from RimFeeders and will continue next year. RimFeeders is a Facebook page administered by Alex Mendoza, where the distribution locations and dates are announced. RimFeeders are volunteers who willing to give up a few hours of their time to prepare a meal to feed the hungry, believing no one should go hungry.
“I’m so thankful that I can do these things with these folks and our community,” said Kennedy, who is also raising funds for a family whose home burned on Christmas Eve and is coordinating with Rim Family Services to create family fun packs filled with ideas to create good family relationships and have fun. The fun packs will be given out during the next lunch distributions on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at the elementary schools.
During the Mountain Mutual Aid Network’s Holiday Free Market at Print and Page Booksellers on Dec. 19, 25 bags of food, including fresh fruits and vegetables from Arrowhead Farms, were given out. In addition, there was a free market of clothing and household items donated by community members.
At the Free Market, they also distributed nonperishable food packages. The whole community contributed by bringing items and swapping with friends. A truck full of donations arrived with new women’s clothing and new toys and books, along with everything from kitchen supplies to baby gear to new makeup for free to those who came.
Also, on Dec. 19 at the Lake Gregory Church in Valley of the Moon, which as a member of Feeding America offers monthly food distributions, a drive-through food giveaway for over 250 was held. They gave out a box and bag of food, including a bag of candy for kids. They also had fresh vegetables and pork shoulder roast, chicken patties and canned soup.
On Dec. 17, Sandals Church in Lake Arrowhead gave out Farmer’s Market boxes of fresh food from 1 to 3 p.m., distributing about 150 boxes, with a no-contact drive-up where they placed the items into people’s cars.
On Dec. 21 from 12 to 5 p.m., Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church passed out food boxes, jackets and toys. They also had gift items for teens and Stater Bros. and Goodwin’s Market gift cards, plus winter jackets for all family members.
The first of the holiday dinner food giveaways was on Dec. 12, during the Crestline Christmas, when they gave out 200 free holiday dinner boxes of everything needed to cook dinner for a family, at Savior’s Realm parking lot from 2 to 3:30 p.m. before the Santa Experience at the Treasure Box with live music from the Woodlands Church band playing Christmas music, with free food and hot drinks.
Additionally, year-round Operation Provider distributes food on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 26525 Pine Avenue in Rimforest. They also offer help with utility bills. They encourage all who need help to visit their website operationprovider.org and apply.
Most mountain churches have food banks as well. Although there are not many government programs operating on the mountains, the churches and people of the mountain communities do not want anyone to go hungry and hope those in need connect with these programs.