Food deliveries are available to Riverside County seniors and the disabled impacted by the coronavirus stay-at-home orders and scarcities arising from the statewide emergency, officials said Wednesday.
The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services is offering the “Courtesy Pantry Program” to anyone over 60 years old, as well as those with physical ailments that may hamper their ability to remain food secure, according to agency spokesman Gene Kennedy.
The program was initiated at the end of March, with DPSS, the Office on Aging, the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity of the Inland Valley and the Salvation Army partnering to sustain the effort, Kennedy said.
As part of the service, the Salvation Army procures food items and boxes them, then turns the boxes over to Habitat for Humanity for the coordination of deliveries.
“Because of COVID-19, a whole new set of needs emerged for vulnerable communities, and we wanted to be there to help,” said Tammy Marine, director of Habitat for Humanity of the Inland Valley. “We had the infrastructure to support Riverside County’s desire to serve people unable to go to the store and pick up groceries for themselves.”
Under the Courtesy Pantry Program, food boxes, containing a two week’s supply of edibles and other necessities, including toilet paper and toothpaste, are delivered to residents’ doorsteps.
In the last five weeks, about 2,300 boxes have been delivered countywide, according to Kennedy.
“I am extremely grateful for the food box delivery program,” Riverside resident Lynn Pierce said. “I have been sharing the food with my neighbors, so the support is being extended into my neighborhood.”
To apply to be placed on the delivery list, residents must contact the county at 800-510-2020. If approved for assistance, an applicant can expect the first box to be delivered within a week, Kennedy said.