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Food Options for Alhambra Families and AUSD During Spring Break

  • Bananas made up a large portion of the food bank donation on Thursday March 26, 2020. Photo by Helen Arase

  • Gabriela Lopez worked a night shift before volunteering to pack food distribution bags at the First Baptist Church of Alhambra. Photo by Helen Arase

  • Xiaoyu Guo checks a box before packing it for a to-go food distribution bag at the First Baptist Church of Alhambra. Photo by Helen Arase

  • Yolanda Arias packs to-go bags with pears and bananas before moving on to pantry items like chips and drinks at the First Baptist Church of Alhambra. Photo by Helen Arase

  • Prepared pags wait in the First Baptist Church of Alhambra. Distribution begins Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. Photo by Helen Arase

Location

Alhambra , CA

Alhambra Unified School District is going into their spring break next week. The meal plan that has been serving students from Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel and Rosemead is also going on hiatus and will return with a modified schedule.

There are at least two food resources in the area available for those who need to secure food in the coming weeks. AUSD families can go to the two food distribution sites mentioned below. For seniors and the disabled, some stores have instituted special shopping times. While the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health doesn’t recommend seniors leave their homes, sometimes it is necessary.

The First Baptist Church of Alhambra has a weekly food distribution on Thursdays. They receive donations from three locations; Albertsons, Big Lots and a food bank. The bulk of this week’s food bank donation included heads of lettuce, bananas, pears and yogurt. Albertsons and Big Lots donated drinks, breads, chips, crackers and other assorted pantry items.

Pastor Matt Barnes says it takes volunteers a few hours to sort and pack for anywhere between 75 and 150 families. They begin to get donations on Thursday mornings and are packing through lunchtime. Distribution of food begins at 1 p.m. and the church ends the distribution in the mid-afternoon to deliver to those who cannot go in person to get food.

The church usually lines up tables and has recipients walk through to point out the food they want, but in the age of social distancing, volunteers and church members spread out donations in the back rooms of the church to create to-go bags with an assortment of foods.

One large room is for quality control and checking of the produce, and the other is for sorting and bagging.

On this Thursday, deliveries of donations are orchestrated by Alex Liao, First Baptist staff, church member and one of the coordinators of food distribution. Liao and a couple of volunteers deliver the truckloads of items from Albertsons and Big Lots, which is when the “organized chaos,” as one volunteer put it, begins.

Donations are sorted; social distancing is observed at the direction of Rene Rosales, who is also a volunteer, First Baptist member and food distribution coordinator. He regulates how many people should be in a room at a time, makes sure they are standing on opposite sides of tables and frequently changing gloves.

Once similar items are grouped, volunteers go down the line and fill bags that will be distributed or delivered.

If you want to help the First Baptist Church’s efforts, Barnes suggests donating shopping bags and non-perishable items. The Church’s address is 101 S Atlantic Blvd in Alhambra or call 626-570-1511.

Alhambra Unified has advertised the Asian Youth Center’s Emergency Food Distribution as a resource for those who need meal assistance. The plan is by appointment from Monday through Friday.

Families will pick up food for the week. Each meal pick-up is different and, like First Baptist Church Alhambra, depends on what the food bank donates to them. AYC said donations could include canned food, grains or frozen meat.

Only one person is allowed in the building at a time, and that person will pick up the food for the entirety of the family at their home address.

The AYC’s program is run differently than AUSD’s so they require identification and address verification for first-time families, which should take about 15 minutes. Call to verify which kinds of documentation is acceptable.

AYC said they are trying to help as many people as possible, so if you show up without an appointment, they will first help those with an appointment and ask you to wait outside until they are finished.

Call 626-537-0954 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to schedule an appointment. The last pick-up appointment is at 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Wednesday appointments began at noon because they receive their shipments in the morning.

The Asian Youth Center also relies on donations to keep their food distribution going. Their address is 100 Clary Ave in San Gabriel.

When schools return, which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, there will be a new pick-up schedule and a fourth distribution site at the District Office. As with the current sites at Marguerita, Granada and Ynez Elementary Schools, the District Office will still feed from the same 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. hours.

On Wednesday, April 8, a new pick-up schedule for weekly food – Mondays and Wednesdays – will begin. On Monday, students will pick up food for Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday, students will pick up enough food for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

On Tuesday April 7, there will be food distribution, but the new Monday-Wednesday schedule begins the following day.

The District asks that parents open the trunk of their vehicles from inside the cab, via switch or button, to minimize person-to-person exposure.

Any person under the age of 18 is eligible for food, regardless of enrollment, however, there must be a child in the vehicle for the family to pick up breakfast and lunch.

The AUSD District Office feeding site is 1515 W Mission at the northwest corner. Enter on Chestnut and exit on Marengo.

For seniors and disabled persons, a list of stores that have designated hours for their shopping has been posted by the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce on their Facebook page. They also have updated resources for restaurant deliveries and other business bulletins.

This is their post of stores with special hours:

A chart of grocery stores with modified shopping hours, as of March 27, 2020.

 

This article was updated at 3 p.m. to reflect a title change and correct food distribution hours of operation.

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