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USF in dire need of volunteers
USF food boxes
The United Samaritans Foundation is working with the Area Agency on Aging and Veterans Services to offer a temporary food delivery program for senior citizens (Photo contributed).

Those individuals who are healthy and looking for a way to help others during this time of hardship can put their good intentions into action at Turlock’s United Samaritans Foundation.

The USF is working with the Area Agency on Aging and Veterans Services to offer a temporary food delivery program. The local nonprofit is in need of volunteers to deliver emergency food boxes to senior citizens unable to get out and do their own shopping.

“The Agency on Aging relaxed the requirements for receiving meals for seniors who are self-isolating or having trouble finding what they need at the stores,” said Dana McGarry, the grants administrator and senior meal program coordinator for USF.

To aid in delivering these packages, which contain enough food for five meals, to local seniors USF needs 10 volunteers who will work in teams of two.

“Part of the reason we are employing a deliver system for them is because we want to limit physical interaction,” said McGarry.

These senior meal deliveries are separate from the organization’s regularly scheduled distribution of emergency food boxes that are available to individuals and families in need of all ages.

McGarry said USF is also in dire need of volunteers for its daily lunch program.

USF is the county’s largest non-profit direct food distributor to the hungry, serving 35,000 meals a month. To accomplish this feat, USF makes 50 stops throughout 11 different communities — including Stanislaus State and Modesto Junior College — with four mobile lunch trucks, serving between 1,500 and 1,800 lunches Monday through Friday.

Two of the foundation’s largest populations of volunteers — university students and retired adults over the age of 60 — have been greatly impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus, leaving a need to be filled.

“When the university shut down classes, it also shut down service learning programs and we lost dozens of volunteers,” said McGarry.

Many of the senior citizens who were weekly volunteers for the lunch program have been self-isolating as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials.

Healthy volunteers are needed to help prepare meals from 8 a.m. to noon or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The USF is also in need of the following items:

  • N95 masks for volunteers distributing food boxes
  • Forehead thermometers
  • Cash donations
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables
  • Sliced bread
  • Canned tuna

To volunteer or donate to the USF lunch program, call 209-668-4853.