The housebound woman’s face lit up when she opened the cardboard box stamped with “Central California Food Bank” and found canned vegetables, muffin mix, dried beans, cooking oil and other staples. Leslie Flores, R.N., a Community Medical Centers home health nurse who is helping deliver food boxes to her patients, said the woman had been eating mostly spaghetti for days. “She told me, ‘I haven’t had this in forever!’”
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down local businesses, Fresno’s vulnerable populations had even more difficulty with food insecurity. Central California Food Bank saw its food lines swell shortly after the statewide shelter in place order. But, food bank leaders knew plenty of people weren’t lining up – especially the elderly and those with chronic conditions that put them at greater risk.
Katie Zenovich, Community’s Chief Fund Development Officer, had the same thought. When COVID-19 hit, she remembered, “we have nearly 800 patients in the home setting that our home health nurses take care of every day,” she said. “I thought, ‘What about those 800 people who we really want to keep at home and out of the hospital?’ I bet about half can’t go out because of their compromised health.”