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Where to get food, financial assistance in Sonoma County during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you or someone you know is in need of help during the pandemic, here is a list of local organizations that are providing food and financial assistance.

This list is being updated as we learn more, and you can let us know what we've missed at onlineideas@pressdemocrat.com.

Where to get food

Text FOOD

Residents of nearly 30 ZIP codes in Sonoma County can text “FOOD” to 707-353-6333 to receive a list of local organizations that provide free groceries and meals in their area. After texting the number, residents will be asked to indicate whether they’re in need of meals or groceries and provide their ZIP code.

Gillian Haley, the executive director of Justicewise, has partnered with several local organizations in Sonoma County to create the platform. For more information, email Haley at gillianohaley@gmail.com.

Santa Rosa City Schools

Santa Rosa City Schools is offering free meals to students as part of a summer program that ends Aug. 7. After filling out an application here, families may pick up meals Mondays-Thursdays from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. at six alternating locations throughout the city. Students from any local district will receive five breakfasts and five lunches once per week. For more information, visit srcschools.org/freemeals.

Redwood Empire Food Bank

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is providing free food to residents in need without proof of income, Food Connections Manager Maria Fuentes said. Residents can visit the office (3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa) for a box of dry goods or to be directed to a pick-up location. Coronavirus concerns have forced some pickup locations to close and others’ hours to be extended, so visit getfood.refb.org for an updated list. Additional questions can be directed to 707-523-7900.

Meals on Wheels

Run by the Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels provides seniors with food in exchange for a small monetary donation, although no one is turned away for their inability to pay. For more information about meal delivery, call 707-525-0143. Meals on Wheels also is distributing meal packs at nine pick-up locations throughout Sonoma County for residents ages 60 and older. The suggested donation is $20 per pack, and residents must register the day before by 10 a.m. to receive the meals. For more information, call 707-525-0143 ext. 013.

Corazón Healdsburg

Corazón Healdsburg (1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg) is offering a drive-thru service for Healdsburg residents to receive free groceries and takeout meals on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Residents do not need to show ID but will be asked to give their name and address. For more information, visit the organization's Facebook page.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa is continuing its free food distribution programs for anyone who needs help feeding their family throughout the pandemic. Go here for a list of days, times and locations. Call 707-528-8712 or go here for additional information.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army is providing free food to any resident in need Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon during the pandemic, said Santa Rosa Salvation Army Capt. Rio Ray. To receive food, go to the parking lot of the Corps Community Center (93 Stony Circle, Santa Rosa) with a valid ID. Families are limited to picking up groceries once per week. For more information, call 707-542-0981.

Windsor Service Alliance Food Pantry

The Windsor Service Alliance Food Pantry (8987 Windsor Road, Windsor) is doling out free fresh produce and packaged groceries to Windsor residents on Fridays from 2-5 p.m. Go here or call 707-838-6947 for more information.

Healdsburg Food Pantry

Healdsburg Food Pantry (1505 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg) is providing Healdsburg and Geyserville residents with free groceries on Tuesdays and Fridays from 3-4:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3-5:30 p.m. Free meals also are offered Sundays at 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (209 W. Matheson St., Healdsburg). Go here for more information.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin are providing free grab-and-go lunches for children who live in Windsor and Cloverdale. Meals can be picked up at Brooks Road Clubhouse (9640 Brooks Road S., Windsor) or the Cloverdale Clubhouse (686 S. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. Children must be present to receive the meals. For more information, go here.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley are providing free meal bundles with five breakfasts and five lunches on Mondays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at Maxwell Farms Regional Park (100 W. Verano Ave., Sonoma). Meals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis through Aug. 10. Children do not have to be present at the time of pickup, but drivers must wear a mask and remain inside their vehicle. For more information, go here.

Rotary Clubs of Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Rohnert Park

Several Rotary Clubs in Sonoma County are offering free drive-thru meal services every Saturday at noon for both laid-off and employed hospitality and service workers in need. Meals can be picked up at these locations: Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library (6250 Lynne Condé Way, Rohnert Park), the Multicultural Child Development Center (1650 W. 3rd St., Santa Rosa) and the Petaluma Community Center (320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma).

Ceres Community Project

Ceres Community Project is providing free meals and food assistance to Sonoma and Marin County residents who are facing serious medical challenges and are unable to prepare their own meals. Residents who qualify for assistance will received seven meals once per week for up to 24 weeks. If you meet Ceres' qualifications, call the client intake line at 707-829-5833, ext. 201. It may take up to 72 hours to receive meals.

Food For Thought

Food For Thought provides free weekly groceries and frozen meals to people living with HIV and other serious illnesses in Sonoma County. The nonprofit also is now offering a COVID-19 nutrition program, which provides meals to people with the coronavirus who are struggling to access food while in quarantine. Go here for more information about the program. For assistance, contact client services director Nina Redman at NinaR@FFTfoodbank.org or 707-887-1647 ext. 119.

Friends in Sonoma Helping

Friends in Sonoma Helping (18330 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma) will provide Sonoma Valley families in need with free groceries twice per month. To receive groceries, call 707-996-0111 from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays. For more information, go here.

River to Coast Children's Services

River to Coast Children's Services (16300 1st St., Guerneville) is providing west county families in need with free groceries, formula, baby wipes and diapers. Items can be picked up Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Face masks are required. For more information, go here.

La Luz Center

If you are unable to attend other food distributions in Sonoma Valley because of lack of transportation or a health condition, La Luz Center (17560 Greger St., Sonoma) will work with you to ensure that you receive food, community engagement programs, according to Community Engagement Program Manager Angie Sanchez. To receive help, call 707-938-5131.

The Living Room

Since the pandemic, The Living Room (1207 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa) has transitioned from a women and children's day shelter to a crisis center. The organization is distributing free hot meals and groceries to anyone who is in need on Mondays-Fridays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. It also is offering pet supplies, water, hygiene products and mobile showers on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Go here for more information.

Food for All - Comida para Todos

Food for All - Comida para Todos delivers free weekly Redwood Empire Food Bank family meals and bimonthly supplemental essentials to Sonoma Valley residents who are homebound, economically challenged or do not have transportation and can't access other drive-up distribution sites. Go here for more information or to sign up.

Vía Esperanza

Vía Esperanza (2230 Lomitas Ave., Santa Rosa) has organized a drive-thru service for Santa Rosa residents to receive free groceries and meals. The service is available Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Although residents do not need to show their ID, they will be asked to give their name and number of people in their family. For more information, visit Vía Esperanza’s Facebook page or contact Iliana Madrigal at imadrigal@capsonoma.org

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Financial Assistance

If you have been laid off recently or are seeking additional income, here is a list of businesses hiring locally right now.

File for unemployment

Residents who have become unemployed because of the pandemic can file an unemployment claim with the State of California here. Residents must meet the state's eligibility requirements, which include being physically able to work and being fully or partially unemployed, among other criteria. Click here for more information.

Utility Assistance

Salvation Army is offering to help people in need pay their water, electric and other utility bills. These services are available in the afternoon at the Corps Community Center (93 Stony Circle, Santa Rosa) by appointment only. For more information, call 707-542-0981.

The Santa Rosa-based nonprofit North Coast Energy Services is providing assistance with electric, natural gas, propane, kerosene or heating oil bills that cover at least 22 days of service. Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo county residents are eligible to apply. Once approved for assistance, a pledge is made on your account, and payment is credited within 8-12 weeks. The organization will repair and replace unsafe heating and cooling devices. For more information or to apply for assistance, go here.

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Other resources

Santa Rosa-based nonprofit Better Beginnings has partnered with First 5 Sonoma County to launch the My Navigator Program, which provides free resources and information about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood to local families. The program also offers baby weight stations in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park. For more information, call the warm line at 707-902-3031. The line is available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days per week.

The Veterans Resource Center of America is providing temporary financial assistance and rapid rehousing to veterans who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes. For more information, call the local office (444 10th St. suite 102, Santa Rosa) at 707-578-8387 or go here.

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