The Anza Friends Uniting Neighbors (F.U.N.) group continues to offer low-cost and free boxes of nutritious food every Thursday afternoon at the Community Hall.
Organized totally by volunteers, this band of community helpers unload, unbox, sort, and organize into boxes foodstuffs from cookies, milk, bread, canned goods and snacks to meatloaves, fish filets, beverages and wheels of cheese. The variety of offerings is quite astounding.
The event begins early in the week, with Robyn Garrison’s Equal Rights Amendment office acting as a collection point for paid boxes of food. For a large box, the cost is $30, with a smaller box offered at only $15. And the value is apparent.
A typical $15 box will have crackers, canned vegetables, cookies, bread, milk, cereals, yogurt, tea, pasta, sauces, dressings and much more. The contents change from week to week, but the items are all selected to create as many well-rounded meals as possible.
The food is purchased by the FUN group and unloaded at about noon time on any given Thursday. The volunteers attack the cases of goodies, opening them and organizing the contents. Noel Donahue is in charge of the paid boxes, carefully selecting the various items to be included in them.
Volunteers eagerly assist in loading the boxes and wait patiently for their name to be called to pick up their own share of the food.
“When I am off work I go and help at the food giveaways. The FUN group is awesome. I have made the boxes and help hand them out. You can see the appreciation on the faces of the people who get the food! It is a ministry I wish I could devote more time to! The FUN group needs to be commended for what they do for the community,” said Robert Hoffstot, a frequent helper at these events.
Need is great in this under-served community where there are many retirees and underemployed families. For those unable to attend the activities at the Hall, volunteers will deliver their boxes to them. No one should be hungry in Anza.
“We believe in the biblical principle of ‘gleaning.’ Anyone capable of helping themselves is expected to do some of the work of gleaning. These persons have the ability to help me help them,” said Bill Donahue of the FUN group. “We try to sell enough boxes to recoup the $190 we pay for the food but we take no money for ourselves.”
The FUN group also hosts a free and festive community dinner on the last Sunday of the month from 1 p.m. until 3 p. m. in the Community Hall. Donations of time, money and food are always welcome. The meals are always the talk of the town for many days afterward and the dinner served Oct. 30, consisted of beef stew, salad, dinner rolls, spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken Alfredo, a tater tot and vegetable casserole, green beans and a slew of attractive deserts. The room was packed and there was even enough food for diners to have second helpings.
Les Fin, who is instrumental in organizing the food distribution events said, “It’s a lot of work but it makes my heart feel good. So happy I can give back to the community.”