The Quakes and Wells Fargo are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.
Additionally, a donation will be made to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to AACSA.
Since 1978, the African American Community Service Agency (AACSA) has been providing quality educational, cultural, social and recreational programs for residents of Santa Clara County. They are one of the only African American cultural centers in Silicon Valley.
Sabrina-Mone Lamontagne, Office Manager at the Agency, has been working in various programs for over three years to bring support to Santa Clara County. Prior to COVID-19, the AACSA Emergency Food Basket program provided emergency food for families and individuals in need. Now, the AACSA Cares initiative has become Sabrina’s main area of focus as the demand for these baskets has increased significantly.
Since March, the AACSA Cares program has been able to serve over 5,000 individuals and families with emergency food baskets.
“We see at least 350 families just on Fridays,” says Sabrina.
In preparation for assembling the Cares baskets, staff members at the AACSA make trips to the store as well as receive and unpack shipments of goods on a daily basis. The basket contents include a variety of foods, diapers, baby formula, hygiene products and toiletries. By assembling and distributing these baskets, AACSA Cares has been able to take a weight off the shoulders of those in need.
“Because we are able to give them toiletries and food, they use the money they otherwise would have needed on things to keep them going a bit longer,” says Sabrina.
The program, which previously had pickup windows on Fridays from 12:00-3:00 p.m., has adapted to fit the growing needs of the community. In addition to the Friday grab-and-go hours, community members can call ahead to schedule a pickup on any weekday when the offices are open. Staff, volunteers and clients follow CDC guidelines on safe practices including social distancing, sanitizing and wearing face coverings.
“It’s amazing, being able to see how what I do makes a difference and helps another community member,” says Sabrina.
AACSA Cares is just one of many programs they have to offer. The AACSA has a variety of online resources, as well as activities such as virtual classes, workshops and events.
“We are thankful for our partnerships with SHIP Kits, Hunger at Home and various sponsors and donors. In addition to the baskets, we have been able to provide temporary housing made possible with partners at Destination Home and Chuck & Paige Robbins,” says Sabrina.