First Foundation has always felt a deep pride about our connection to the community, and our Supporting Our Communities initiative is one the pillars of our platform. When we partner each year with a nonprofit, we ensure we work with those who are close to the community – and connected to the people – which is why it is no surprise to us all of the good they have been doing during the pandemic. Below are stories of how just a few of our Supporting Our Communities partners are giving back.
Kitchens for Good
Kitchens for Good is a multifaceted nonprofit that educates and trains individuals who have come from poverty and disadvantaged situations in the food services industry. They create meals for events, senior homes, and after-school programs with reclaimed food. They are breaking the cycle of food waste, poverty, and hunger through programs in workforce training, healthy food production, and social enterprise.
During the pandemic, they have ramped up their services to provide 10,000 meals a week to families and individuals in need throughout the San Diego area. They hope to increase production to upwards of 15,000 meals. These meals are heat-and-serve to help those who may not otherwise have the ability to take food staples they are given and prepare meals. Kitchens for Good pivoted the function of their sales staff, since catering and events are on hold. These dedicated staff members are now focusing full time on alumni relations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those who have gone through their training programs. Since they are in the food and restaurant service industry, many are out of work during this time. Kitchens for Good has rehired a few to help with their current work force and increased need. They are helping others through finding unemployment resources, job placement, and mental health services.
Serving Our Kids
Serving Our Kids serves school children who are food insecure in Clark County, Nevada by providing bags of food goods and personal items discreetly through the school for the weekends. Before the crisis started, Serving Our Kids delivered food in 70 schools – but as community needs increased, so did their services. They are now up to serving 126 schools requesting aid for families. SOK changed their service model, since schools are closed, and are now doing more than 500 home deliveries a week. They are also working in collaboration with Spread the Word Nevada to get books and workbooks included with their deliveries.
Imperial Valley Food Bank
The Imperial Valley Food Bank has seen a 35% increase in need from both partner agencies and local residents since the beginning of the COVID-19 response. They are utilizing the National Guard to boost their human workforce capacity as they are no longer using public volunteers. IVFB has doubled their distribution shifts because many people don’t have transportation or are unable to leave their homes. IVFB is the only service provider for many remote areas of Imperial County. They are seeing an unprecedented amount of individuals and families who are in need of food assistance while the shelves of their local groceries remain out of stock on many dried goods and nonperishable food items.
Monkey Business Café
A local eatery that employs young adults from Hart Community Homes, which provides skills and on-the-job training in the food and service industry to young adults who are aging out of the foster care system. Monkey Business has seen an obvious downturn as businesses closed their doors to adhere to the shelter in place orders. They remain open for catering to businesses, hospitals, and local nonprofits. MCB is also delivering food to families in need throughout this pandemic, and are working to keep their staff employed and learning.