Valley News -

By Diane Sieker
Writer 

Food giveaways rely on volunteers to feed the hungry

 

Last updated 6/27/2018 at 1:22pm

Diane Sieker

Cici Capps' horse trailer is poised to receive tons of food from the Western Eagle Foundation's distribution center in Temecula.

Anza has many opportunities for residents to partake in low-cost or free food distribution programs that occur every week. One of those events is held at a local church in Terwilliger every Thursday. The story of how the supplies get from the distribution point in Temecula to the people in need is due to hard-working volunteers and the organization of one woman and her vision of "no hungry people."

Cici Capps made it her mission to see that no one goes without sustenance if she can help it.

"I got started many years ago by volunteering at local food programs on and off when I was able," she said. "Later when I no longer worked, I decided to give it a go, more hands on and help more hours."

She started with a local church. While Capps was not a member of this particular church, she and others just wanted to make a difference.

"Every human has a right to food," she said.

After complications with the church and their staff, Capps decided to move forward and try and develop her own food program.

"It was confusing and where to begin?" she said. "We started researching and asking lots of stores if they would help. We got a lot of no's, but we kept trying. A year later we were almost out of steam and money, since we had been buying the food on our own and giving it away."

Then the Western Eagle Foundation took note of the group and saw that they were real people who just wanted to make a difference in people's lives. The group had already received an offer from Winco, Sprouts and Feed America. It was good, but it was not the bulk of what was needed to feed hungry seniors, families, vets and struggling military families. The Western Eagle Foundation stepped in to fill the middle bulk needs. 

"They soon became a blessing and gratefully needed ally," Capps said excitedly. "It's now been 10 years."

Most of the original volunteers have moved away to distant locations and even out-of-state. There are still a few who remain and volunteer when they can, even with new job demands. These volunteers wish to give back to the community as they had received help from the program when in need.

"Without our volunteers we're a food program with no way to reach our community. Without our sponsors were just a bunch of people standing around wanting to make a difference with no resources. It's a team effort, and like the intricate movement of a fine watch, it works smoothly. We call ourselves 'The Volunteers for Public Service,' and that's what we are and it's what we do." Capps said.

Every Thursday, without fail, Capps and volunteers meet at the Western Eagle Foundation distribution center in Temecula. She hauls her horse trailer with her faithful Ford one-ton dually and expertly positions it to be filled with good food that will be distributed in turn to at least three organizations. Fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy products, breads, snacks, sauces, condiments and even meats are loaded into the trailer.

After treating the volunteers to lunch at Roots, she whisked the trailer load of goodies to her home in Sage, where more volunteers await to separate the items and place them in three equal piles. These piles are taken by the individual groups and distributed to the needy at their various locations. Additional helpers wait for the food delivery and organize the donations to be given out in an orderly manner.

Capps' dedication and hard work continue week in and week out, despite many other demands on her time.

"We do it because it's the right thing to do," she said. "Because nobody should go hungry. Because we should, we all should. We can't turn a blind eye to our fellow neighbors forever, and if everyone would just take one day a week to make a difference then we would all be in a better place to live."

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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