About 200 volunteers from the Colette's Children's Home nonprofit held a drive-thru food distribution in Huntington Beach Saturday, serving community members in need because of the coronavirus.
Demand was so great at the makeshift distribution center at the nonprofit's parking lot, according to its founder Billy O'Connell, that volunteers started distributing boxes of food and diapers an hour early.
Glynndana Sheblin grabbed two boxes of food – not for herself, but for her two neighbors. She said the nonprofit gave her a place to stay after she was evicted in 2015, and that she now gives back by making masks to distribute to the homeless.
"If you take a child and a mother off the street and give them shelter and food, they can fend for themselves," she said. "I'm absolutely that person."
O’Connell worked with the Orange County Food Bank and local unions to help the homeless women and children his organization usually focuses on aiding, along with others struggling within the community.
"We've had over 1,500 cars pass through our food lines," O'Connell said. "We're seeing more and more people who are unemployed or in need, and we're here to help them."
The volunteers distributed dry goods, milk, chicken and produce. They also gave out diapers, often difficult to find during the pandemic, to those who needed them.
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Lacey Morek, one of the volunteers helping out at the nonprofit's parking lot and a mother of five, said she was once helped by Colette's Children's Home. She's now a case manager for the group.
“I get to do the same thing that was done for me,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to do this, and then you get to see their reaction... They're grateful and very thankful.”