The indefatigable Gene Romer of Summerset I is the driving force behind the Feed the Children program she began three years ago. When Romer found out from Ochoa how many families were in dire straits, she began organizing an effort to meet the need. “We’ve been fortunate to receive lots of donations of food and money over the years,” she said. “But the problem is still growing with so many people out of work. In early November, we found the need had doubled.”
Romer and helpers distributed 2,000 grocery bags, donated by local supermarkets, to scores of Summerset volunteers, asking them to fill the bags with non-perishable food, health and personal items. Hundreds of bags were collected, sorted and repacked at Summerset activity centers and forwarded to the DCSI office, where they were unloaded by volunteers and distributed to needy families.
Cecelio and Yolanda Salazar and their six children were grateful to be on the receiving end of the effort. “My husband lost his job in construction and it has been very hard,” Yolanda said. “Getting this food is a big help to us right now.”
Ochoa said monetary donations have been used to purchase food vouchers that supplement the food-filled grocery bags. Business sponsors include FoodMaxx, Raley’s, Safeway, WinCo, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Walmart, Kaiser, John Muir, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy. Summerset Kare Bears, McDonald’s and Jean Bates & Associates are additional sponsors.