Pasta, rice, beans and flour are some of the non-perishable items the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM) and Waveside Church are gathering to help seniors and families mostly in need.
The two have partnered together to provide families with pantry food items and a free delivery service during the COVID-19 pandemic, two of several nonprofit organizations working to ease the burden of families and the elderly during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Items will be available for delivery and free pickup based on availability. Delivery services are available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In order to avoid spreading the virus, the BGCM clubhouses are closed, along with Malibu public schools, until further notice.
“We have been collecting donations on pantry items and are delivering them to doorsteps for seniors and those who are vulnerable, who basically can’t leave their homes,” BGCM Executive Director Kasey Earnest said. “Our staff put the items together that are needed and they dropped them off at the doorstep of whoever is receiving the food; the goal is to not actually come in contact with anyone through the process.”
While the County of Los Angeles announced the closure of bars and entertainment venues and restricted access to beaches and outdoor areas, essential businesses including grocery stores and food banks remain operational.
Earnest said they have been given permission by local governments to continue operation and said locals should contact them if they have senior neighbors who are in need of assistance.
To maintain the safety of her staff, Earnest said they are not working with any volunteers at the moment. BGCM staff and members of Waveside Church will collect, sort, deliver or schedule donation pick ups.
“The pantry is only being administered by Boys and Girls Club staff members and members of Waveside Church at this time,” Earnest said. “If people want to drop off food, we will coordinate with them directly; currently, no one is available to come on campus.”
As for students, the BGCM Wellness Center will have home packets available for kids to engage in with their parents.
“Our program staff is working on some virtual opportunities for teens to get together through different platforms and work on some projects and connect with them through social and different platforms,” Earnest said. “So trying to stay in touch with people, FaceTiming with our kids and making sure they’re okay.”
With schools closing and education being taught remotely, parents have become the teachers. In support of creativity and imagination, local nonprofit Crayon Collection is providing free art supplies to families in need. In addition to providing crayons, Crayons Collection is sharing free art education plans for learning at home. Their curriculum provides the opportunity for students to tap into their creativity, learn STEM and literacy through art projects.
Founder Sheila Michail Morovat emphasized the importance of art in this current situation in an email to The Malibu Times.
“The gift of art is something we really want to highlight right now. Kids are feeling anxious; this is all new to them, this new transition. We’ve partnered with local artists here in LA and we created the most incredible projects that really only include paper and crayons as the main tools,” Morovat wrote. “These projects are not about coloring inside the lines but they really offer some social and emotional support and give your kids a chance to create the process of emotion.”
Each shipment costs around $6 and they have received more than 500 requests for crayons from families enrolled in Title 1 Schools and Head Starts. These donations help support those families directly.
Every $15 donation will help support three families in need by providing them with educational materials for at home learning.
For children to continue to learn in the comfort of their own homes, BGCM are providing families with educational and mental health resources as well. Earnest said they are also custom shopping for families at no extra charge.
“There was a couple last week that were vegan that our staff custom shopped for them and then they just drop the items off at their house,” Earnest said.
Earnest said the BGCM program took shape during the fires, when they provided emergency relief services to families in Malibu.
“We learned a lot during the fires and it became so apparent how vulnerable the senior population is in Malibu,” Earnest said. “We have folks living in really remote and hard-to-access places with the rain and muddy weather, but unlike the fires, we could check in on each other. We can take care of one another now as consciously as possible, it’s so important for neighbors to check on our seniors if they’re not comfortable going out and shopping.”
BGCM established a fund in partnership with Waveside Church to help families most in need during this time. Monetary donations are accepted on the website: bgcmalibu.org. Questions can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.457.2582.
“We’re reminding people: It does feel permanent but it’s only temporary; we’re gonna get through this,” Earnest said. “If we reflect on all the challenges of the fires, we have more control of the situation. We can be at home and embrace our families, we can take care of our neighbors and take care of one another.”
Malibu Foundation and Mighty Underdogs (MUD) are also continuing grocery deliveries; information is available at themalibufoundation.org/cv19program.