By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Beginning this month, the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC) will be bringing boxes of food and other household supplies monthly to the mountain communities and continuing for the foreseeable future.
CAPSBC will be in Running Springs the second Tuesday at the Hootman Senior Center and in Crestline on the second Thursday of each month, currently distributed in Lake Gregory’s south shore parking lot. They have hopes of getting a location for distribution in the Twin Peaks area, but are still seeking a location.
Since the items are dry goods, they do not need refrigeration, just a place for their large truck to park with additional easily accessible parking for people to pick up the items, once a month.
CAPSBC actually traces its community involvement back to President Lyndon B. Johnson and his policies of community outreach in his War on Poverty, which he announced during his state of the union address in January of 1964. The War on Poverty was an expansive social welfare legislation, intended to help end poverty and hunger in the United States.
The Community Action Partnership until now has been providing food to 240 food banks in the Inland Empire communities but, since the loosening of the COVID restrictions, many of the smaller food pantries they supplied have closed down, so they have decided to go directly to the people and offer food distributions in the less populated areas, such as the mountains. Their goal is to share a spirit of hope and make America a better place for its residents to live.
They have a one-page intake sheet, mostly to verify the number of people they served, which only needs to be filled out the first time services are received, although they do not keep a check list, they said.
“We like to give more than just one box of items to a person, so we usually also have additional items on a table for them to take,” said Donald Wilson of CAPSBC. This time, they were giving out KN95 masks and Lysol sanitizer wipes to everyone, plus a box of dry food items, including pasta, various tomato sauces, soup, canned sauces and fruits.
In addition, they let people choose from breakfast cereals, peanut butter, canned veggies, refried beans and potato chips, plus paper items such as toilet paper and paper towels. They also had some detergents, hand soap and dryer sheets. Some items they only had 50 of so it was first-come, first-served for those items and then, when out, they rotated in different items. The truck was full when they arrived. They were so generous that, when they left at 2 p.m., it was empty.
“We brought enough for over 150 recipients of the big boxes and then folks may choose several more of the more limited items. At this time, we plan to be at the locations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting,” said coordinator Alejandro Montes. “This is a community outreach from the San Bernardino CAP, since so many food banks on the mountain have now closed.
“We receive the items directly from suppliers or manufacturers and we are looking for organizations to partner with in the mountains, but many of the volunteers have dried up, so we decided to do the outreach ourselves,” added Montes. “We could use some local volunteers who would like to help us distribute the items, once or twice a month,” he added. They could call (909) 723-1581 and ask for Montes and he will return their call if he is out in the field.
The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County is located in San Bernardino on Tippecanoe, with a mission “to support, advocate and empower residents to achieve self-reliance and economic stability.”