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Sonoma County Black Forum gives out groceries

Were the caring volunteers who gathered Saturday morning at Santa Rosa High School able to help struggling families pay their rent or mortgage payments or medical bills, they gladly would. They can’t, so they did what they can.

Members and friends of the Sonoma County Black Forum packed cardboard boxes with appetizing, nutritious foods. Then they carried the hefty cartons to the cars of people who drove through for a hand in assuring that come mealtime there’s something wholesome to eat.

This was the third and final scheduled coronavirus-era food distribution by the Black Forum. Founded to “Lead, Serve and Thrive,” the nonprofit exists to encourage dialogue on the African-American experience and to help young people obtain the skills they need to succeed and flourish.

Upon resolving to connect with community partners and do something for local families and individuals distressed by fallout from the pandemic, forum members determined the most pressing needs are for financial assistance to cover the costs of shelter and health care, and help to keeping food on the table.

Unable to afford to assist people to pay their bills, members of the Black Forum set out to host three masked, drive-thru, no-touch food distributions. The earlier two occurred Sept. 19 and Oct. 17.

Administrators at Santa Rosa High allowed the volunteers to use indoor and outdoor space at the home of the ArtQuest program, located on Mendocino Avenue at the south end of the campus.

Volunteers returned there Saturday and set to packing boxes with turkey from Bud’s Custom Meats, frozen burritos from Amy’s Kitchen, pasta and pasta sauce, packaged macaroni and cheese, rice, fresh squash, canned fruits, peanut butter, tuna, coffee, protein bars and other groceries.

Before the official starting time of 10 a.m., a number of cars were lined up in the convenient, in-and-out driveway in front of the ArtQuest arch.

Volunteers also delivered food to people who were unable to drive by because they are elderly, have impaired vision or don’t have access to transportation.

Members of the Sonoma County Black Forum were able to purchase and give away the generous cartons of food because of the support they’ve received from partners that include Community Foundation Sonoma County, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, the Junior League of Napa-Sonoma, the Redwood Empire Food Bank and Farm to Pantry.

For more information on the Sonoma County Black Forum, click here.

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