Last resort assistance provided to low income residents
The Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC), a volunteer-oriented organization based in Yolo County, has been providing immediate, short-term aid to families and individuals at or below the poverty level since 1967.
This assistance comes in various forms, including food, rent, utilities and job preparedness aid. STEAC provides a safety net for those on the brink of a downturn and is often a last resort for those in need.
STEAC attributes its success through the years to unwavering support from donors and volunteers who work tirelessly to collect and distribute food, complete clerical work, assist with holiday programs and raise funds.
“We have 100 volunteers at STEAC, and we only have three part-time staff, so there is a huge outpouring of support within the community,” said Katy Zane, the executive director of STEAC. “Part of the reason why we are successful is because there are so many dedicated, civic-minded people in Davis, and they are also generous with their financial donations that help fund the [programs].”
STEAC’s Helping Hand Program helps food-insecure families or individuals by providing them with meals they may not have otherwise received.
Within the Helping Hand Program is a fairly new project called Food Packs for Kids at Montgomery Elementary School in Davis. The project aims to support elementary school students who participate in the school lunch program, sending them home with a weekend bag of food to ensure that their nutritional needs are met until they can return to school on Monday morning.
While STEAC does not necessarily help the homeless population directly, it takes preventative measures to keep low income residents from eviction through rental assistance (up to $600) or utility assistance (up to $200). In addition, the organization helps people move into long-term housing with first-month rent aid. These services are typically only provided once every two years.
For those seeking employment, STEAC provides appropriate clothing for job interviews and access to various documentation, including food handler certificates, identification cards and driver’s licenses.
Kim Eichorn, a real estate agent in Davis, sits on the board of STEAC and also volunteers for the Committee’s Food Project, one of its Helping Hand Programs. The Food Project began in June 2015 with nearly 2,000 pounds of food for its first donation. Since then, the program has grown to over 35,000 pounds of food collectively.
The Food Project is a simple system of donations occurring six times a year, every two months. Volunteer neighborhood coordinators even pick up the donations at donors’ homes. A list of what the food closet needs, along with pickup dates, is available on the STEAC website.
“I am enthusiastic about the project,” said Darlene Boyce, a Food Project donor, in an interview with The Davis Enterprise. “We are restocking the STEAC food bank with things they need! In the end, it’s whatever works for our community and those who need a bit of help now.”
When compiling her donation bag, Boyce refers to the list given out by STEAC, which notes specific food items that the Food Project needs. STEAC often asks for cooking oil, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, rice and pasta; this helps avoid problems such as an overabundance of ramen noodles or tomato soup.
“They’ve really won the hearts of people in Davis,” Eichorn said. “They get a lot of volunteers. I just have a lot of people who really enjoy the commitment […] Most people in Davis, if you say STEAC, they know exactly what it is […] People seem to really want to give and contribute and help.”
Written By: Bianca Antunez — firstname.lastname@example.org