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Drive up food giveaway created during pandemic to feed those in need in Ventura County continues

People lined up for Food Share's weekly free food distribution at College Park in Oxnard.
People lined up for Food Share's weekly free food distribution at College Park in Oxnard.

Food Share officials say even though the pandemic is over, the need for help remains high. They continue a weekly Oxnard drive up food distribution project.

Susan Waterson is leaning against an old, beat up van in an Oxnard parking lot. Dozens of cars, trucks, and SUV’s are parked behind her.

They are all here for one thing: a drive-through food giveaway intended to help those in need.

"It's real important. Me and my husband...we're both homeless," said Waterson. "The food comes in really handy."

She said it's sometimes the difference between them having something to eat, and going hungry.

They are at Ventura County’s Food Share's weekly Wednesday afternoon event in Oxnard’s College Park.

"The need is still at about the same levels as it was during the pandemic," said Kevin Harold, who is is Food Share’s Food Sourcing Supervisor. He oversees the drive-through food giveaway.

Harold says it’s now three years old, and the need for it is as strong as ever. A supplemental government food program created to help people during the pandemic is over, which means the loss of hundreds of dollars worth of food a month to some families.

Harold talks about who’s being helped. "We have seniors that come, we have families, we have farmworkers who are struggling to make ends meet."

Volunteers prepare, and hand out the boxes of food. Because the drive-through food giveaway is such an established event, the team of Food Share workers and volunteers are well organized. There are brightly colored tags placed on each vehicle as they line up. It designates what those in each vehicle will receive, and keeps the lines moving.

Food Share’s Kevin Harold says what people receive varies based on what’s available. He describes what people are getting today.

"In the box there's some canned goods, there's some pasta, there's some tomato sauce, there's some peanut butter in there," said Harold. "Well also be distributing some blueberries today, and some sweet potatoes."

The drive-through food giveaway takes place at 2 p.m. every Wednesday, in Oxnard’s College Park. It lasts until 4 p.m., or until the food runs out.

It’s really just an add-on to what Food Share does every day in Ventura County. Working with a network of more than 130 food pantries, it feeds more than 260,000 people a year, in many insuring that everyone from kids, to seniors in the county won’t be going hungry.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.