Written by: Kaitlyn Gleeson, Staff Writer for The Press – Brentwood, Sep 9, 2021
It takes a compassionate heart and listening ear to understand the needs of one’s community. Village Community Resource Center (VCRC), which provides after-school academics, health clinics, counseling services, parent peer support groups and preventive mental health well-being practices, not only comprehends this notion, but actively engages in it through their community outreach and aid.
At the beginning of June 2020, VCRC started a food distribution program to help the rising need for food.
“We didn’t plan on doing this,” explained Jose Rizo, the program director for VCRC. “Other than summer food distributions, this was entirely community driven. We reached out to participants in our program, and they said food scarcity was a resounding need that came up.”
Recognizing that problem locally, VCRC knew that action was necessary. However, due to the size of the center, they faced a problem of lack of storage. But White Pony Express, which works with the VCRC grant provider, Impact Diablo Valley, was able to resolve this issue.
“When we reached out to Impact Diablo Valley, letting them know where the need in the community was at, they connected us to White Pony Express,” said Rizo. “They have been amazing for a large portion of the last year. They were even providing USDA food boxes.” VCRC has worked with not only Impact Diablo Valley, White Pony Express and local grocery stores, but also with community outreach groups such as Hijas del Campos. According to Rizo, the group would come out to the VCRC to pick up food to be delivered to local farm workers. This effort could be considered evidence of the extensive efforts to help people who are in need.
For individuals looking to attend the food distribution program, it takes place Wednesdays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Village Community Resource Center on Village Drive.
“We are still always looking for volunteers,” Rizo said. “They do need to be vaccinated. While it’s not a requirement, it’s for the safety of everyone involved.” Rizo also mentioned the ongoing effort to find people who would be willing to help the cause. Anyone interested in volunteering can reach out to Gloria Pantoja, the family resource specialist for the VCRC, at 925-325-2625.
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