The Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay (VACCEB) Mobile Meal Program (MMP) provides free culturally relevant grocery meal bags to low-income folks and their families across Alameda County. This program was created in response to the “shelter in place” order due to COVID-19, which has substantially impacted disadvantaged communities. The communities they serve that are in need of food security all commonly share the following characteristics: homebound seniors, low-income, medically vulnerable, immigrants and refugees, and English limited. In addition, the program serves a diverse range of populations, this includes: Southeast Asians, Chinese, Latinos and Habesha (Ethiopians/Eritreans) communities. The MMP is designed to help alleviate hunger among our most vulnerable populations by providing culturally relevant grocery meal bags that meet the Older American Act and the daily dietary standards and requirements. By doing so, they have cemented partnerships with local ethnic markets to source food items for diverse constituencies in order to maintain cultural integrity while also supporting small businesses. With food insecurity so prevalent amongst struggling communities impacted by COVID-19, the demand for reliable food resources has also rapidly increased. To illustrate, the organization went from serving 1,000 meals/month pre-pandemic to now distributing 37,500 meals/month to 2,400+ unduplicated individuals across the East Bay. The MMP showcases the extraordinary needs for food resources during this challenging time and the barriers to food security that will remain even post-pandemic. Wonderful work VACCEB!
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