Catching up with Marianne Mullen:
For the past month, I have been volunteering with Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response volunteer organization, who is working to support Food Banks nationwide. We have been helping to package food for distribution, deliver meals to the homebound, coordinate logistics, organize fellow volunteers, and conduct warehouse management. The Food Bank operation I am helping to manage is in Santa Rosa and is a central hub that services other food banks, food pantries, school meals, senior citizen centers and communities covering a territory that extends to the Oregon border.
Due to the current shelter in place and resulting economic situation, millions of people newly struggle to get by without jobs or wages and are suddenly joining the nearly 40 million citizens who were experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic. Many are relying on food banks for the first time in their lives. The particular Food Bank I work with went from creating 300-400 food boxes a day, to now up to 3000 per day. Food Banks across the country are hard pressed to meet this increased need, especially since most of their usual volunteer staff are seniors, who currently cannot volunteer due to health risks.
Even though it’s been labor intensive work, with some very hot, sweaty days for sure, I feel grateful for the opportunity to be of service to the community at such a critical time in our country, and to help to ensure that families in vulnerable communities get the food and supplies they need.