In response to food insecurity spreading among the unsheltered and formerly unsheltered, Union Station Homeless Services has responded quickly by massively scaling up to deliver meals to its clients throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
Starting Friday, April 3, Union Station Homeless Services will be prepping and delivering 5,000 meals a week to its clients.It is anticipated that the need could grow rapidly to over 6,000 meals a week.
“Our vulnerable and at-risk clients, living in our bridge housing and supportive housing sites as well as hundreds of our clients staying in motels and apartments, now depend on us for food. With the help of our partners and amazing staff, we have swiftly responded and are delivering meals to their residences across the San Gabriel Valley,” states Anne Miskey, CEO of Union Station Homeless Services. “In this time of crisis, we are showing how we live our core philosophy of meeting our clients ‘where they are at’ –physically and emotionally.”
Union Station Homeless Services is meeting the urgent food needs of its clients in three ways.
Scheduled Meal Deliveries throughout the San Gabriel Valley
Residents at Centennial Place, a permanent supportive housing facility in Pasadena, and locations throughout the San Gabriel Valley will have scheduled deliveries of prepackaged meals and snacks to cover two to three days every Tuesday and Friday. This massive distribution of food is the coordinated effort of a dedicated Union Station kitchen staff, a small group of volunteers and community partners.
“We are honored to partner with Union Station Homeless Services, and be able to do our part in helping to feed our community’s most vulnerable,” said Joachim Splichal, Patina Restaurant Group Chef and Founder.
On Mondays and Thursdays, staff and volunteers receive, sort and label prepackaged meals into individual grocery bags for each resident. On Tuesdays and Fridays, two refrigerator delivery trucks, provided by the Patina Restaurant Group are loaded for deliveries. When the trucks arrive at each location, the on-site Union Station staff offloads the trucks. They then deliver the packages to the right to the resident’s doorsteps and check-in to see how they are doing, while maintaining social distance.
Single deliveries to clients
On a case-by-case basis, Union Station Care Coordinators will also be making emergency deliveries of meals and needed necessities to their clients living in apartments and motels scattered across the region. Many are at risk and cannot leave their places of dwelling and are in desperate need of supplies and food for themselves and their children.
Continuing meal service at the Bridge Housing locations
Three onsite meal services a day with enhanced social distancing protocols are continuing to be prepared and served at the Adult Center and Family Center. While in the past, legions of long time volunteers have been a part of the Adopt-a-Meal program and packed sack lunches for residents, the kitchen staff has had to assume the preparation and serving of all three meals.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the organization served 2,200 meals a week at its facilities with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers, many who had served dinners or made sack lunches at the facilities for years. With many long-time volunteers needing to stay at home and new social distancing protocols, the exponentially expanded kitchen work and food distribution are now being handled by a dedicated kitchen staff of only three people along with food services temps and a small number of volunteers under the direction of Marissa Gamboa, Food Services Manager.
Critical need for community help
To continue to meet the increasing demand for food and necessities for its clients, Union Station Homeless Services is in urgent need of the following donations from the community:
- Monetary and in-kind donations to support additional meal service, including increased breakfast and lunch service for kids who are now home from school.
- Funds to support increased staffing needs in the kitchens and bridge housing in place of volunteer support, which during normal operations is the backbone of their community meals program.
An updated list of needed items is available at unionstationhs.org/c19urgentneeds/.