A Winters Express op-ed column
The phrase, ‘It’s all about the people,’ when referring to the Yolo Food Band, is a misnomer in my mind. The more correct phrase should be, ‘It’s all about the souls.’ Let’s reason together for a moment. A mechanical escalator, which has neither feeling nor emotion, moves ‘people’ from one level to another. A novel that I recently read refers to airplane passengers as souls — so designated by the airlines to impress on the minds of the pilots, and those who serve their customers, the special value of those that are in their charge. Webster includes in the definition of soul, “functions of thinking and willing and determining all behavior; spiritual or emotional warmth, and etc.” ‘It’s all about the souls,’ when referring to the Yolo Food Bank, should include those who serve as well as those who receive. During a recent Zoom meeting with staff members and a subsequent tour of their 34,000 square foot warehouse, I was impressed with their heartfelt dedication to the monumental task of collecting food and essential supplies to be distributed to beneficiaries in Yolo County. During the tour conducted by Office Manager Mike Cornelius, I saw pallets upon pallets of food commodities such as Del Monte canned vegetables, Campbell’s soups, Crystal Geyser water, Chicken of the Sea tuna, fresh carrots and other produce being loaded into a huge walk in cooler, stacks of ice cream in a large freezer, and so on. I asked if there were baby diapers — the answer was, “Yes, and there are also other necessities such as paper products and medical supplies.” Products come from such places as Nugget Market and Raley’s. Amazon was mentioned. There are more than 80 participating nonprofit partners. More than 40 local farmers participate to provide fresh fruit and vegetables. Mr. Cornelius further explained that they receive cash donations from donors and endowments that help to cover operating costs. Volunteer workers make up 90 percent of their work force. Mr. Cornelius mentioned, “Yolo Food Bank has been around for 50 years and doubled in size the last two years. There are 10,000 more square feet of expansion planned for next year.” Food and commodities are measured in pounds — more than 10 million pounds of food is distributed annually. Sixty thousand county residents are served monthly. The food is packaged in 40-pound boxes. Certain items are packaged in easy-to-handle plastic bags. They are delivered to Winters on Wednesdays and Mondays. Packages are also delivered to the homes of those who are unable to drive to the high school to pick them up. During the aforementioned Zoom meeting with Aliyah, Joy and Maria, they mentioned that this service often frees parents from making the difficult decision of, “Do we pay the rent or buy food for our children?” The mission statement of Yolo Food Bank is “To End Hunger and Malnutrition in Yolo County.” In every way they provide the means to fulfill this goal. Sophie Says I question Gramps emphasis that it’s all about souls rather than about food. He neglected to ask if they had dog food.