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Food Bank needs volunteers

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent shut down, the need for food in the community grew at alarming rates, and volunteers at the Redwood Empire Food Bank are in great need as a result.

The food bank that services five North Bay counties saw a 300 percent increase in food distribution since the shelter-in-place orders were issued in mid-March. In April, the nonprofit provided food to an average of 40,000 families, up from an average of 10,000.

“We are at a critical moment in time and the Redwood Empire Food Bank is committed to distributing food to those in Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake and Del Norte counties,” said Redwood Empire Food Bank CEO, David Goodman in a press release. “Volunteers play a vital role, and we are in need of compassionate, hard-working volunteers to help us carry out our mission.”

Volunteer shifts require a mask be worn at all times and the ability to stand for about three hours. Shifts are available at the warehouse in Santa Rosa for sorting food or packaging boxes for delivery. For safety purposes a tent was set up outside the warehouse at 3990 Brickway Blvd. where volunteers are spaced six feet apart.

Distribution locations are set up throughout the county and work includes packing food boxes, and assisting clients – mainly seniors – by taking the food to their car or deliver it to homes.

A list of locations, available shifts and other information and requirements is available at the food bank’s website refb.volunteerhub.com. No training is necessary and volunteers can sign up for one-time or ongoing service.

Redwood Empire Food Bank also operates a disaster-relief program called Station 3990 that operates during times of crises and has been needed during disasters such as wildfires, flooding and power outages in recent years, and now the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are first responders in this crisis, as we have been during floods and fires and public safety power shutdowns,” Goodman said in the press release. “Because of the support of our community, we run towards disasters, not away from them. We can’t do this alone.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities and to register, go to refb.org/volunteer-opportunities or call 523-7900.

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