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Ministry Offering Essential Items for Latino Community

Volunteers at food bank
Volunteers help with food donations and other items at the Sacred Heart Center food bank. (Photo: Claudia Guerrero Barrera)

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*This story was reported by VPM News intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza.

The Sacred Heart Center is working with Bainbridge Community Ministries to expand its food bank services to Richmond’s Latino population. 

The center emptied out one of its classrooms for the food bank, which offers hygiene products, baby supplies, and foods like rice, beans and tortillas -- staples in the Latino community that aren’t as common in other food banks. 

“The Sacred Heart Center offers a trusted place for families to get access to food that they need during this difficult time without barriers or restrictions that they might face in other places,” said Claudia Guerrero Barrera, the center’s program director. “The families that we serve really trust the Sacred Heart Center.”

Guerrero Barrera says Richmond’s Latino community faces a variety of obstacles during the pandemic. Many face language barriers and lack access to basic healthcare information, while others tackle unemployment or reduced incomes.

“Some other families are working, but that means they are also exposed to get the virus and they may not have the luxury or the privilege to work from home,” Guerrero Barrera added.

She says the curbside food bank serves more than 30 families -- over 100 people -- per day. The food bank operates by appointment and has less than six volunteers per shift to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Geronimo Guzman is one of those volunteers.

“It’s much easier to move forward and to feel better and to look out into the future if you have people to help you dig yourself out of holes that seem pretty prevalent nowadays in this time that we’re living,” Guzman said.

The Sacred Heart Center food bank is operating Tuesday through Friday and accepts donations Tuesday through Thursday. For more information, visit the Sacred Heart Center website.

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