OAK HILLS – Life isn’t always easy and some, with little ones depending on them, it makes it all the more difficult to make ends meet. Numerous nonprofit agencies are in service to assist those in need with many of their needs, but some live in silence either not knowing or with too much pride to seek out the services available to them. Others say things like, “No, we can figure it out,” or “There are so many who need it more”.
A local Oak Hills nonprofit wants to assist those who can benefit from their weekly services of providing around a week’s worth of food each and every week. Food that includes bread, meats, vegetables, snacks, and even drinks. Those who are able to are encouraged to volunteer and financial donations are also accepted. Proof of income is never required, but an ID will be required the first time in order to receive food. This means that those who may not qualify for things like WIC or the SNAP (Food Stamp) program who still can use some help are also welcome to attend. “We are out there for that purpose, to try to help people extend their dollar and get something back to the community,” explained Steve Barber, who started the organization with his wife around a year and a half ago. “We’ll do it as long as we’re physically and mentally capable.”
Their mission has been one that did not come without what felt like block walls along the way, associating with those eager to damage something that so many depend on by using deceit or even code enforcement to do so. Steve and Kim Barber were just the two to be able to take on these roadblocks with strength and perseverance. The roadblocks in the form of attacks from some, including those with similar nonprofits, did not shake Steve, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and Kim, a cancer survivor. The two, who are strong in their faith only prayed for those who sought to destroy something that over 200 people in the Victor Valley community depend on weekly and moved forward with smiles.
Recently, the organization was forced to move due to constant calls to code enforcement. “Code enforcement had received a complaint from someone who was not happy with the riff-raff showing up,” explained Steve. “Hogwash as Oak Hills has outperformed all other areas in the high desert. The basic complaint was operating Food Distribution from a 2.27 acre fenced residential lot.” The most recent visit from Code Enforcement was on Saturday, March 31, 2018. The couple and their volunteers knew they were doing something good for the community, providing a service that so many benefitted from and some even desperately needed. They were not going to give up. Steve said that they prayed and asked God help them seek out ways to continue the work if that is what he wanted for the organization. Steve and Kim submitted requests to several local churches and received a call from the Solid Rock Church, located at 13032 Ranchero Road in Oak Hills. “They were just such a great fit for what we do, and is a short 1.4 miles from existing location,” said Steve. “God answered that this was the location.”
The church is offering the location at no charge due to the fact that the service is very much needed in the community. Also, 4 Hungry volunteers set everything up and clean everything up once the distribution is over. “We thank them for this as it is a blessing to keep God’s work going,” said Steve. “I just want to emphasize that God can and will do all things; when we put it in his hands it will be done.”
After thanking God for the answered prayers, the couple got to work, requesting volunteer assistance. Around 12 volunteers in all took part in the move, 4-5 who were consistent. “The biggest help was from a crane operator and company for lifting, and setting 20k pound shipping containers,” said Steve. “Our volunteers are great and made fast work of getting back up and going.” The cost was nearly $2000 to complete the move and add the necessary insurance. For a small nonprofit $2000 is not a small cost, yet Steve minimizes the financial impact humbly saying that the larger cost was some who needed food were unable to receive the food for two weeks while they had to move and set up. “One patron’s husband had passed and she had an empty cupboard and if we had not gotten back up she did not know where or what to do,” said Steve. Fortunately, after only two weeks of being out of operation for setting up, the organization reopened for food distribution at the Solid Rock Church on Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Still, although Steve and Kim Barber never complain or emphasize the costs involved in bringing the service to the community, some of which undoubtedly comes from their own personal income These costs include transportation of food, storage, insurance, supplies, programming, technology, print, purchase of some of the distributed items, and of course, one they would not think to even mention; time. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization can accept tax-deductible donations from businesses, individuals, and organizations, both religious and non-religious. Currently, they do not have any continuous financial sponsors besides the donations coming from their clients. At this time, Steve said their sponsors are only 4 Hungry and the Solid Rock Church. Volunteers are also always needed, volunteers can meet at the church located at around 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays. The nonprofit is also able to sign off on volunteer hours for school, welfare-to-work, or even for court.
Those in need of food are welcome to attend any or every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Solid Rock Church. Donations are accepted with the average being $3 per household, but any amount will be excepted that can pay it forward and everyone is served. Everyone should bring several bags, boxes, totes, a wagon, or whatever may be needed to take home around a week’s worth of food.
For more information, to volunteer or to donate, join the Facebook group, “4 Hungry”.
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