SAIL - Food Distribution Program
A Report from Ann Padden-Rubin
The River of Giving is the brainchild of Maili Halme, a local chef and restauranteur. As the mandatory closure of dine-in restaurants and other service industry businesses continued due to Covid-19 many of the friends she had made through working in restaurants had lost their jobs and were struggling to make ends meet. Maili organized a large distribution of groceries, joined by friends, family, and volunteers. She dubbed her project the "River of Giving."
After reading about Maili's efforts on Facebook I wanted to help. I secured a donation from a local foundation, then I asked Dana Monk to help. We reached out to Josefa Rios, who helped to identify some families in Santa Barbara who were food insecure.
On Friday, April 17, working in Morgan Hall under Maili's direction, Dana, Josefa, and I packed 20 boxes with nutritious groceries including chicken, eggs, fruit, vegetables, beans, rice, tortillas, and milk; and delivered the groceries to needy homes.
Following that rewarding experience I approached the SAIL team at St. Andrew's with the idea of creating a SAIL program in collaboration with Maili to try to prepare 200 food boxes the following week. The SAIL team embraced the idea enthusiastically. So, on Thursday and Friday of this week, Morgan Hall turned into a food-packing workshop. Volunteers showed up... Linda Sorensen, Dana Monk, Suzanne Malloy, Bob & Carole Shapiro, Judith Muller, Emma Voigt, Nancy Boger, Michelle Hertig, Robin and Maggie Knauss, John Rubin, and James Padden-Rubin. In addition there were former St. Andrew's members Susan Zink, Paul Zink, Jr., and Bobbie Rubin; additional volunteers from the Promotores Network, and from River of Giving in the Santa Ynez Valley joined us. St. Andrew's really came through!
We measured out 50-lb bags of beans and rice into smaller bags. We divided up 70-lb bags of onions, and wrapped 2,400 eggs into one-dozen size bundles. A private donor gave money to buy 200 chickens, so that families could have a healthy source of protein. Maili received thousands of pounds of produce from area farmers for little or no cost. At 2:00 we were ready for cars to drive into St. Andrew's parking lot and collect their groceries. By 4:00 the volunteers had loaded groceries into almost 200 cars, and another dozen boxes were delivered to families without cars.
Every single person who came was grateful for having such nutritious food to feed themselves and their children. This was truly an example of "Serving All In Love." In John 21:17 Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." Now is the time to listen to Jesus and feed the people nourishing food.