As county residents continue to shelter in place, the Yolo Food Bank is running a new delivery service with the help of UC Davis staff members and students. Three Humphrey Fellows, mid-level professionals from overseas, spending the year at UC Davis, also are assisting.
Robb Davis, former mayor of Davis who is the director of intercultural programs at Global Affairs, has taken a leave of absence from campus to serve as the food bank’s coronavirus response coordinator. His duties include setting up a system that delivers goods and essential household items to seniors and others in vulnerable populations.
“We have large numbers of people over 65 or people who have medical conditions who would need to stay in their homes,” said Davis, who has a background in public health. “We started (four) weeks ago with 300 households who had requested food boxes.”
That number has since grown to nearly 2,000 households. Requests for delivery can be made on the Yolo Food Bank website. Requests can also be made on behalf of family members or neighbors.
The food distributions occur weekly with the help of volunteers who pack food boxes and help with deliveries.
Global Affairs said eight students are assisting with delivery management, matching addresses with volunteer drivers — using geographic information systems skills acquired during Study Abroad in Bhutan, led by Karen Beardsley of Global Affairs.
The students: Michelle Ayala, Lily Keene, Sarah Leicht, Hunter Ottman, Shona Paterson, Janelle Setina, Eli Stockwell and Maya Yoshikawa.
Humphrey Fellows who are assisting: Issam Chariag of Tunisia, an engineer and project manager for his country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries; Fabrice Inkonkoy of the Democratic Republic of Congo, indigenous people and local community advisor for the World Wide Fund for Nature; and Zuomei Ning of China, executive director of Snow Alliance, a nongovernmental organization that works in nature conservation and public education in China.
Carlos Barahona, who works in information technology in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, is also lending a hand.
“UC Davis is definitely well represented,” Davis said about current volunteers. “(There are) definitely UC Davis retirees. We’re seeing student involvement at a lot of different levels. A grad student from Thailand delivered boxes in Winters this week. I didn’t find him. He found me.”