Volunteers load boxes of free groceries, each weighing about 39 pounds and valuing around $60, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (Rebecca Threewit)
Volunteers load boxes of free groceries, each weighing about 39 pounds and valuing around $60, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.

Rebecca Threewit

Skyline launches new recurring food assistance event

Skyline College Free Drive-Thru Community Market offers food assistance to San Bruno students and families

September 16, 2020

Skyline College launched a free, weekly grocery distribution service Wednesday Sept. 2 for students and other members of the community in need.

The Skyline College Free Drive-Thru Community Market offers pre-boxed groceries through contactless pick-up at the Skyline Boulevard entrance to campus every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the end of the year. Each car receives a 39-pound box of food worth around $60.

Boxes of free groceries are individually packed in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020

Through a partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley, the district was able to initiate an emergency food distribution program at College of San Mateo which currently serves 1,000 families every Friday. The success of that program led to the opening of a similar program at Skyline.

“We came together as a district to figure out a solution,” said Chad Thompson, director of SparkPoint at Skyline. “My colleague at Cañada … (Adolfo Leiva) led the first drive-thru distribution at CSM, which was a major undertaking.”

SparkPoint, which operates the service in addition to financial coaching, was forced to close their free food pantry in March due to campus closures by order of the San Mateo County Health Department.

“There is no alternative to literally handing people groceries,” Thompson said. “So when COVID-19 forced us to close the campus and shelter in place … We could go virtual with financial coaching. That wasn’t too difficult, comparatively. But we couldn’t go virtual with giving out groceries.”

Students and their families who cannot attend the food distribution events at Skyline have access to other resources that can help them. Second Harvest of Silicon Valley has several food assistance locations in San Bruno.

“We … refer people back to the food bank because even though we want people to take advantage of our Skyline, of our CSM, of our District stuff,” Thompson said. “All of our students and members of our community can access all of the other community resources as well.”

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