This year is not what any of us expected. There’s change and inconsistency abound. South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP) is deemed essential and all our programs have been open throughout the pandemic. We have, however, had a concentrated focus on food distributions and meeting the very critical need of hunger in our community. Not only have people had less money to purchase foods, but the cost of food has increased. Access to food pantries and to gleaning produce boxes have been critically important. We have been able to work with partners, community groups, and, most recently, with our gleaning project, forged a partnership with common markets to receive nearly 700 boxes of farm to family produce each week.
Food access was the primary critical first need. Now our attention turns to helping folks get back on their feet. For our communities to make a full recovery, we cannot leave anyone behind. We can’t underestimate the importance of this part of our pandemic response. Closing down is easy. Opening up, rebuilding, retooling, thinking outside of the box, and adequately supporting the rebuild process is incredibly complex and critical. We recognize that fact as we think about reopening business, but it is the same for the lives of our community members. How do we ensure folks do not lose their housing as they rebuild their lives? How do we help them with retraining opportunities and appropriate work supports if they permanently lost employment?