In our celebration of Community Action Month, we want to shine a light on how local agencies, like our Butte CAA, have and continue to play a critical role in fighting food insecurity and being a support in times of crisis.
By being a local entity of the larger Community Action Partnership, Butte CAA is able to have resources and connections on a national level, while being in tune with the needs of its local communities.
This past March, CEO Thomas P. Tenorio and Assistant to the CEO, Krystal Tyranowski, went on KKXX Chico NOW! radio show with Vince Haynie to talk more about our North State Food bank and the help it offers in the coming months. Continue reading below to find out what Thomas Tenorio had to say about our food assistance efforts and other programs, or you can listen to the full interview here.
Coronavirus Food Assistance
I want you to be excited, because we're excited. As an agency, we have the good fortune of being tied to many sources of food.
We operate the North State Food Bank, as one of our programs. There are many folks who want to help, and it's up to us to try to figure out a way to make it happen.
There's already been a dozen semi-truck loads full of food coming in from Texas and other states into the food bank network that we're a part of throughout the whole state.
And now food is finding its way into the hands of families of seniors and people who are impacted by all the closures and all of the negativity that the virus has created.
Our food distribution season has started early. And it's no wonder the disaster caused by the effects of the Coronavirus has left a lot of folks in economic situations that they had not anticipated.
It's our way of trying to help bring hope, bring certainty, and bring encouragement to households.
Typically in a given month, we have at least 35 sites that we distribute food to out of a six county area with Butte, of course, being our largest. But we serve an area that includes Glenn, Colusa, Tehama, Loomis, Sierra as well as Butte County.
You don't have to qualify. All you have to do is show up. We have also had the great benefit of having the volunteers, as well as some deputies from the Sheriff's department, join us with the distributions.
The deputies are there to help because they just want to help, that's in their DNA. Yes, they're there to enforce laws and all that as well, but in their hearts, they just want people to be as well off as possible. And so they're there handing boxes out, just like everybody else.
The way we've devised the distribution is to keep people in cars like a drive-through and hand out prepackaged boxes of food.
We have a whole other team in our warehouse that takes the food and prepackages it in large boxes donated by different supporters.
For instance, Sierra Nevada is a big supporter of ours. So if you get a box from Sierra Nevada - it's not beer, but it's better. It's good food, it's healthy food.
We're trying to help make sure that people have some staples that are shelf stable and that will be healthy for them. So at least, while we're in this period of uncertainty, they're going to be okay nutritionally.
In regards to some of our other program services, the Community Action Agency has been designated as one of those essential entities, therefore our staff still show up at work every single day.
We run our Esplanade House family shelter and of course families are still living there, and they're hunkering down as well.
The impact has us reducing services though. But you know what? We're still there. We're still doing it.
Thank you to all of the folks who participated in our VITA program. We've gotten a lot of inquiries about what's going on with it.
Tax season isn't over yet and you and I both know that the IRS, at some time or another, is going to want to make sure that we file our taxes. There was an initial announcement where they had extended the tax paying deadline to the middle of July.
Unfortunately, without our primary source of volunteers, Chico State students, we're left with limited volunteers who are operating at appointment only sites.
For More Information
There will be more to come because this season has us in a state of uncertainty. And we at Butte CAA want to try to be a source of certainty as much as possible.
We've got feelers out to different sources of information. I've heard updates from some of our funding sources about the deals that Congress has now approved that are intended to help real people in real communities across the country.
So we're pleased they see the need to help even organizations like the Community Action Agency. We're looking forward to sharing more of that with you.
For the most up to date information, please just visit either our Facebook page or our website where you'll be able to get the latest information on what the calendar of food distribution events is.