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In the late 1970s the city of Anaheim formed a Human Services section to help its residents with any needs to stabilize their home environment.

Prior to 2020, Human Services worked with families directly to provide a linkage to connect resources for emergence assistance and to help anyone in crisis through the United Way and

Community Action Partnership of Orange County. “The need has always been there, but because of COVID, we had to enter the food game,” said Joe Perez, Community Services Superintendent, City of Anaheim.

“We were providing meals to seniors thanks to Meals on Wheels, but COVID changed everything. The new normal moving forward is that families are in need of food.”

Along with Second Harvest Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, the Anaheim Food Pantry, and Bracken’s Kitchen they are now helping 1,000 to 1,200 residents in need get access to food through their family resource centers.

“We help families with food insecurity, financial assistance, vaccinations, but the number #1 item they request is food,” said Joe Perez. “Now, we’ve been able to help families be stable after they’ve suffered dire circumstances; they’ve lost work hours, and/or employment. We often see families with 10-12 people living together, and if one gets COVID, everyone can get it.”

Bracken’s Kitchen provides prepared meals and families receive a food box with staples to help them through the week. With food costs, gas and other expenses rising, families with limited income are able to prioritize other bills while they receive food donations.

Anaheim residents are very thankful for the help. “Esta comida nos ayuda bastante. Estamos muy agradecidos de recibirla.” “This food helps us a lot. We are very thankful for receiving this food.” And, another resident said: “Hemos pasado por tiempos muy duros y siempre nos han ayudado con comida durante esta pandemia.” “We have lived through some tough times and we’ve always been helped with food during this pandemic.”



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