Over the last year, Orange Plaza Rotary has held quarterly food drives and donated the collected dry and canned goods to the Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine. The food bank does terrific work in promoting the need to feed hungry families and in distributing food donations around the county.
Much of the donated food is sold, at low cost, to dozens of churches and nonprofits that serve the homeless and hungry. Recently we decided to “cut out the middle man” and deliver our collections directly to these programs.
Our January food drive benefited Veterans First, which has been providing services to our vets in Orange County since 1971. At the Santa Ana location we visited in November, we learned that the organization provides a multitude of services including housing, meals, life coaching counseling, life skills, access to mental health counseling, benefit counseling, transportation, as well as job training and employment placement assistance.
The January drive netted more than 800 pounds of food, which we personally delivered to the Anaheim location, where several vets receive housing services. We were greeting by staff and residents, who helped us unload the food into the garage pantry.
This direct connection with the people we serve is what keeps us coming back to Rotary! Our next food drive will be held in March and new volunteers are welcome!