Text Food/Comida

Collective
Fiscal Host: Inquiring Systems

We connect people who are hungry with information about where to get food from over 100 Sonoma County groups and organizations that care. Anyone with a cell phone can use our bilingual text message tool to find nearby locations that distribute free food.

About


Photo courtesy of Xochi on Unsplash

Do you remember where you were in March 2020 as much of the world sheltered in place and wild creatures, just for a moment, reinhabited city landscapes? I was living in Sonoma County, California. 
 
During the first shelter in place (SIP) order, I saw videos of coyotes, wild goats, and other animals reclaiming silent city streets. Simultaneously, I heard distressing stories about the effects of the SIP on Sonoma County’s unsheltered and extremely-low-income residents. 
 
Even in our unbalanced economy, Sonoma County’s caring kept people fed…until March 2020. With the SIP, many older and at-risk residents stopped volunteering. Not only did soup kitchens and food banks lose volunteers, but they also lost at-risk staff even as safe distancing requirements and outdoor operations severely restricted activities. Once bustling downtowns became quiet, wild places that made animals feel safe but were devoid of patrons who may have given five dollars or bought a cup of steamy coffee for someone who was down on luck. 
 
For the first time, gut-wrenching hunger became a reality for Sonoma County’s 2,000 unsheltered residents and many others who relied on the kindness of strangers. 
 
That’s when we began designing Text Food. By April 2020, we added Text Comida when two community liaisons from St. Joseph Community Health Investment offered to work with our team to create a bilingual service. In June of 2020, with a lot of support from caring individuals, nonprofits, and advocacy groups, Text Food/Comida launched our countywide text service. 
 
Now, anyone can use our free service to quickly get the word out about new and changing food distribution details. Through the magic of technology, a partnership with Redwood Empire Food Bank, and on the ground reporting from regional community advocates, all information is updated weekly. Anyone with a cellphone can text our number, enter their zip code, and get an up-to-date list of locations that distribute free food in their area. 
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Beyond The Pandemic 

We expect Text FOOD/COMIDA to be useful for a long time. Fifty percent of jobs lost due to Covid-19 occurred in the lowest paying jobs.[i] The CEO of our local food bank reported that between March and July 2020, demand for food rose by 291%.[ii] 
 
When faced with Sonoma County’s high housing cost, many of our neighbors who still have jobs must choose between rent, food, utilities, medical care, and other basics. Did you know that there isn't anywhere in the entire United States where a person working a 40-hour week for the local minimum wage can afford Fair Market Rent for a one-bedroom rental?[iii] In Sonoma County, a renter earning minimum wage would have to work 115 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom rental.[iv] 
 
We are just learning that renters with children are more likely to be experiencing hardship. November 2020 data reveals that 42 percent of adults living with children reported that children are not getting enough to eat or the family is behind on rent compared with 29 percent without children.[v] Black and Latino households are more than twice as likely to experience food insufficiency (7% of white compared to 17% of Latino and 18% of Black households).[vi] 
 
Text Food/Comida exists to help the helpers reach more people with their efforts, share information and resources, and rebuild community. We believe that the social safety net is made of caring human connection. By creating infrastructure that supports working together to address our most daunting challenges, we can build connections that reweave the social safety net and restore our WHOLE community's health. Text Food/Comida is the first of the community collaboration tools that we envision. 

We are powered by volunteers' hearts and hands and financial support from funders who understand the power of grassroots collaboration. Join us in building a future where our whole community can access the resources needed to be healthy and thrive!
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[i] Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2020 data
[ii] The Healdsburg Tribune, September 10, 2020
[iii] National Low Income Housing Coalition report, Out of Reach 2019: https://reports.nlihc.org/oor/2019
[iv] National Low Income Housing Coalition report, Out of Reach 2020: California, Santa Rosa data: https://reports.nlihc.org/oor/california
[v] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December 2020, New Data on Hardship Underscore Continued Need for Substantial COVID Relief: https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/new-data-on-hardship-underscore-continued-need-for-substantial-covid
[vi] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December 2020, Tracking The COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships: https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/tracking-the-covid-19-recessions-effects-on-food-housing-and

Our team

Gillian Haley

Admin

Founder and Core Team Lead

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Join us for $5.00 per month to help maintain and grow the Text Food/Comida program!

$0.00 USD of $480 USD / month raised (0%)

Starts at

$5 USD / month

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Amplifier

Help us meet the demand for bilingual flyers for how to use Text Food/Comida. Food providers and advocates distribute directions to food seekers wh... Read more

$0.00 USD of $360 USD / month raised (0%)

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$40 USD / month

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Maintainer

Help maintain access to critical information for folks who don't have internet. Our three-way community collaboration tools are based on a simple f... Read more

$0.00 USD of $500 USD / month raised (0%)

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$100 USD / month

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Offer services to keep the food provider database up to date Read more

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Rebecca E.

$500 USD since Dec 2020

Text Food/Comida is all of us

Our contributors 6

Thank you for supporting Text Food/Comida.

Gillian Haley

Admin

Founder and Core Team Lead

Community Fou...

Financial Contributor

Total contributions

$10,000 USD

Rebecca E.

Financial Contributor

Total contributions

$500 USD

Inquiring Sys...

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News from Text Food/Comida

Updates on our activities and progress.

Text Food/Text Comida is Growing!

Since launching in mid-June 2020, the Text Food/Comida Team has steadily expanded our user base and partners who play an essential role in the system that distributes food to neighbors who don't have enough money to buy food. We now serve e...
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Published on November 24, 2020 by Daniel Weinzveg

Budget


Transparent and open finances.

-$10.00 USD
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-$100.00 USD
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-$100.00 USD
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Today’s balance

$8,925.00 USD

Total raised

$9,765.00 USD

Total disbursed

$840.00 USD

Estimated annual budget

$9,765.00 USD