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How Do I Use the TVH Food Pantry?

Within the past few months, many people have called or told Food Pantry staff that they do not know how to sign up, or what to do to get groceries from the Food Pantry. “I’ve never done this before,” and “I’m ashamed that I have to get help” are common statements we hear from community members.

Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 07.54.34The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the cracks in our system and expanded its weaknesses. Sources indicate between 22 million to 30 million people have registered for unemployment since Shelter-In-Place orders began in March, as well as an increase in demand for food banks/pantries.

In order to address this growing need for access to Food Pantries but also maintain protections against the coronavirus, Tri-Valley Haven has slightly shifted how we run the food pantry. We recognize that this is an unprecedented time in recent history, so we are taking steps to ensure that we can best help the community.

So how do you sign up for Tri-Valley Haven’s Food Pantry? During COVID-19, you:

Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 07.54.48

  1. Walk up to the table at the Haven food pantry (address provided below).
  2. Present photo ID. This does not have to be a CA Driver’s License, just some form of official document with your name and your photo.
  3. Sign your name, the number of people in your family, and whether you receive any government benefits.
  4. Receive pre-bagged groceries.

And that’s it! We do not ask for a source or proof of income. You do not have to fill out packets of forms. We do not question your background. The only requirement right now to receive groceries from us is that you live in the Tri-Valley area: Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, or Sunol. Like all of our services, we do not share your information with anyone else.

What to expect when you visit:

  • We are located at 418 Junction Avenue, Livermore, CA, 94551, at the same location as Mar Thoma Church. We are open Monday-Thursday 1-5, Friday 12-4, and closed on weekends. Once you enter the gate, we will have a table out by the parking lot
  • We ask that you wear a mask or face covering when you visit, in order to protect yourself, others, and our staff. If there are multiple people at once, we ask that you wait in line at least 6 feet behind the person in front of you.
  • When you get to the front table, we ask you to sign your name, and to present your photo ID. This is to verify your identity, and to make sure we spell your name correctly.
  • We will pass you pre-bagged groceries. If you need something specific or have dietary restrictions, you are more than welcome to ask for specific items. We cannot guarantee that we have everything, but we will work with you to best meet your needs.
  • In addition to food items, we also have baby supplies, hygiene products, and pet food. If you need any of these items, please ask.
  • As previously stated, you can visit once a week. Normally you can access the food pantry twice a month, but we have changed the policy due to special circumstances around COVID-19.
  • Understand that we will not judge you or make any assumptions when you come in for groceries. As we can see from both national and international data, it is a tough time for a lot of folks, and we want to help you out as much as we can. If you need help, you deserve to have access to it without experiencing any shame or stigma–food is a basic need and no one deserves to go hungry.

Due to the high volume of clients we serve, the food pantry is often unable to answer the phone or return calls right away. If you have any questions, please call our Food Pantry at 925-449-1664 OR call our Administrative Building at 925-449-5845 (and leave a message if staff is not available). They can answer any questions or concerns that may come up. In addition, these are the best numbers to contact if you are interested in making food donations.

Sources:
https://www.vox.com/2020/5/11/21233063/food-banks-snap-coronavirus
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-agriculture/2020/04/30/food-banks-press-congress-to-boost-snap-787244
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-money/2020/05/04/get-ready-to-see-the-truly-ugly-face-of-covid-19s-impact-on-the-economy-787320
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/28/coronavirus-food-banks-are-closing-and-losing-their-workforce.html
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-human/201912/feeding-hunger-feeding-stigma
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/business/economy/coronavirus-food-banks.html

Emily is a Preventionist and Sexual Assault Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how to access or support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the great article about utilizing Tri-Valley Haven’s Food Pantry to the fullest!

    Reply

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