GOLETA, Calif. — Just like lines at food drives, the COVID-19 pandemic keeps stretching on.
With another round of layoffs taking place this past week, kids are hungry and parents need help.
"It's especially important to help those around the holidays,” Foodbank Director of Community Programs and Education Lacey Baldiviez said. “So they don't feel forgotten and left behind."
Each day, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County ensures that everyone has enough to eat.
On Monday afternoon, the Goleta Union School District (GUSD) partnered up with the Foodbank and UCSB Dining Services to hold a drive-thru event for families.
"This was such a unique and great opportunity to do something creative that we've never done before,” GUSD board member Luz Reyes-Martin said. “To have these gobble boxes.”
Each of the gobble boxes contained produce along with other perishable goods such as eggs, pre-cooked chicken and cheese.
"Today's distribution included many more foods than we normally provide,” Baldiviez said. "UCSB Dining was able to prepare some frozen meals like mashed potatoes, broccoli and a meat source as well."
Even local politicians wanted to be on hand to help.
"Efforts like this have a really big impact, even in a relatively small box,” Goleta City Council member James Kyriaco said.
During the day, cars lined up at eight pickup locations throughout Goleta.
In total, more than 1,200 boxes were collected by GUSD families.
"The pandemic has really made it tough economically for families,” Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart said. “There are lots of people struggling at this moment."
"We hear from our families that there's a lot of food insecurity,” Reyes-Martin said. “They really rely on services and the safety net that the Foodbank and our school district provides."
For the volunteers, it was all about brightening a families’ day before Thanksgiving.
"There's really nothing more important than a personal connection with another human being that needs help,” Hart said.
"You see how grateful they are, how happy they are and you see the children get excited,” Kyriaco concluded. It's just the best feeling in the world."
The Foodbank is also providing similar programs to serve families within the Santa Barbara Unified and Santa Maria Bonita school districts.