Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, Redwood Empire Food Bank team up to keep residents fed

To address food insecurity issues, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center gives away groceries on the first and third Fridays of each month.|

To help address food insecurity issues, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is distributing food to Sonoma Valley residents on Monday and Wednesday mornings throughout the year.

There are no eligibility requirements to obtain the groceries, which are available from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on the first and third Friday of every month, including Feb. 17, March 3 and March 17.

“After the 2017 fires, the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center Eligibility Department saw an increase in food insecurity and CalFresh assistance, especially in having access to healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables,” said Maricarmen Reyes, the outreach and event coordinator at the health center.

She said that before the pandemic, the health center typically provided food to 60 to 70 people per distribution day, but the number peaked at close to 200 in 2020 before dropping to its current, steady average of 80 to 90 individuals. A recent report showed one in five Valley residents struggles with food insecurity.

The food provided is divided into five groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy items.

“Most commonly requested are fresh fruits and vegetables, wheat bread, milk, eggs and chicken,” Reyes said. “Additionally, our food site provides baby diapers.”

The majority of the food comes from Santa Rosa-based Redwood Empire Food Bank, which also sources the health center’s Emergency Food Pantry.

“We are extremely grateful to the Redwood Empire Food Bank and all the volunteers who make Sonoma Valley Community Health Center site distribution possible,” Reyes said.

Healdsburg-based Farm to Pantry also provides boxes of fresh produce for the health center twice per month.

Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is located at 19270 Sonoma Highway in Sonoma. For more information about its food distribution, call 707-939-6070, email or visit the health center’s events page.

Reach the reporter, Dan Johnson, at

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