Whom do we Serve? / ¿A quién servimos?

We sometimes wonder: Just who are the people we serve two Saturday mornings a month, when we distribute groceries from the Second Harvest Food Bank? Here are some very unscientific guesstimates, based on my study of the "sign-in sheets" on which we ask recipients to fill in their names, addresses and numbers of family members...


I've often told people, when they ask me, that our neighbors in SW Fullerton are about 75 or 80 per cent "hispanoparlante" or "latino". That's based on the kids I see coming to Learning Center, as well as the folks we see at Saturday morning food distributions.

While I was putting together our July 2016 monthly report to Second Harvest, I did a quick tally of the 107 people who picked up food at our July 16 reparto. Here are my guesstimates, based on people's last names on the sign-in sheets...


My guesses on ethnicity are very unscientific. Some of those "Vietnamese" names could actually be Chinese or Korean. And some of the Latinas could actually be gabachas who happened to marry Latino guys. ¡Servimos a todos, no importando su origen! We serve everybody, no matter what their background!


After I compiled the statistics above, which indicate that we serve about 80% Latinos, I began wondering about just WHERE our food recipients live. Maybe I should make the title of this page "¿A dónde servimos?"

So, after our August 6 reparto, when we distributed food to 92 families, I went over the sign-in sheets and tallied WHERE people said they lived...

Our church is located in Fullerton’s zip code 92833, and 37 recipients said they live in this zip code, or gave addresses which appeared to be in it. The zip code is about 4 miles long from north to south, and 3 miles wide, east to west.

The adjacent Anaheim zip code, where I live, is 92801. Its northernmost edge is less than a half mile south of OUMC. 17 recipients said they live in 92801. This zip code is about 6 miles long east-to-west, but only 2 miles across, north-to-south. Both of these zip codes are oddly shaped, with little nooks and crannies sticking out, or excluded from their territory.

Out of the 92 recipients, 43 live in Fullerton, 28 in Anaheim, and 9 in Buena Park, for a total of 80 who live in the 3 cities surrounding our church, where most of our members also reside. That’s 87 per cent! I would say that the vast majority of the people we give food to are truly our neighbors!

I noticed a few surnames which appeared to be Vietnamese whose addresses were in Westminster, about 7 miles south of OUMC.

I spoke briefly with a lady who said she came from an Italian background. She said her parents immigrated from Italy to south Texas and that she and her sister grew up in the McAllen area, speaking Spanish, before moving to the OC. She doesn’t remember much Italian, but speaks excellent Spanish.

OUMC isn’t the only location in this area which distributes mobile pantry food. A quick look at a Second Harvest map yielded the following nearby distribution points:

There are several more places, not much farther away, who also distribute Second Harvest food at various times. I don’t know what sort of requirements food recipients must meet at any of these places. We give food to all those who come and ask for it. Information as to where and when people can get free groceries is readily available through various channels.

Grown-ups and Chilren

A few months later, the Second Harvest Food Bank asked us to determine what percentage of the individuals who received food were children. So, at our December 17 reparto, we asked each person who received food to tell us about our families — ¿Cuántos son niños, y cuántos son adultos? We learned that the 100 families to whom we distributed food that day were comprised of 289 adults and 123 kids.

Chuck Carey
December 2016

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