naacp food drive

The Long Beach Branch NAACP hosted a Thanksgiving food program Saturday, Nov. 21. President Naomi Rainey-Pierson signs in recipients.

To share some holiday spirit during a difficult year with communities that have been most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Long Beach Branch NAACP hosted a Thanksgiving food program Saturday, Nov. 21, for homebound seniors, low-income families, homeless students and families facing food insecurity.

“Our seniors, they’re afraid and lonely, but they’re also resilient,” said Jesse Johnson, Jr., founder of 100 Black Men of Long Beach. “But the holidays are already a hard enough time for people who may have lost family and loved ones. Then you add in the virus and that loneliness is made even harder.”

The Long Beach branch’s COVID-19 Food Program began in early May, and was funded in large part by the Long Beach Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund. The branch’s community outreach has focused its efforts on assisting Long Beach communities of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The effects of the coronavirus are intensified for people of color, especially Black, Brown, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American communities,” said Naomi Rainey-Pierson, President of Long Beach Branch NAACP. “We know there are folks in need who can’t access food banks, or even the grocery store, for various reasons, so we‘re trying to help.”

The Thanksgiving baskets were packed with frozen turkeys, canned goods, cornbread mix, hand sanitizers and face masks.

Donations for the baskets, face masks and sanitizers were from Albertsons Foundation, LB NAACP Branch, LB NAACP Youth & College Chapter, NRPE Properties, Andy Street, Van Dyke Family Trust, Ralphs & Food 4 Less, Beauty 4U, Dignity Health-St. Mary Medical Center, 100 Black Men of Long Beach, LB Community Foundation, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Rho Iota Iota Chapter and LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

“I’ve been serving my community my whole life,” said Alonzo Duncan, vice basileus of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Rho Iota Iota Chapter. “My parents raised me in a way that we didn’t sit down for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner until we’d helped others in need.”

Throughout the afternoon, volunteers from New Hope Homes Senior Housing facility, Carmelitos Housing Project and other partnering organizations arrived at Rainey-Pierson’s house to collect baskets that would be distributed to residents and community members. NAACP members stood ready to load the baskets into the vehicles.

“Long Beach Branch NAACP launched the food program to demonstrate their commitment to addressing the community’s food needs during this pandemic. We’re very grateful to leverage relationships and organizational infrastructure to address a monumental need,” Rainey-Pierson said.

The Long Beach Branch NAACP also provides food assistance to 90 households in the city. As additional funds are secured, more families are added to the program.

Rainey-Pierson said the branch will continue to gather more supplies for the holidays to donate to community members. To donate to the program by designating Long Beach Branch NAACP at longbeachcf.org, and designating the Long Beach Branch NAACP.

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