In the nearly one year since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the people most directly affected in South Oxnard have been farmworkers and their families – food access is critical for those whose jobs and health have been impacted. Many efforts have sprouted to help provide food and COVID-19 resources and relief, and Oxnard’s Southwinds Neighborhood Council has been holding weekly food distributions. Saturday’s Southwinds event, in collaboration with the Port of Hueneme, its customers and other partners, marked the Port’s 45th food distribution event, as they continue to be committed to community.
“When we started collaborating with our partners in these food distributions, we noticed that the participants couldn’t carry all their goods in a single trip. It is enough of a burden to stand in line waiting for food to be distributed to you. Many moms with infants have had to make do either by trying to carry it in multiple shopping bags or improvising with furniture dollies or other equipment,” said Jason T. Hodge, Oxnard Harbor District Commission President. “These (grocery) carts are an example of a tool that is needed for some residents to be able to carry their goods in a single trip.” Carolina Gallardo Magana, Chairwoman of the Southwinds Neighborhood Council, understands too well the reality of her constituents, many who have been attending their food distributions biweekly.
“We have hundreds of families who have suffered the harsh effects of COVID-19 in our neighborhood and continue to experience inequities and adverse health outcomes,” said Magana, whose neighborhood involvement has ranged from food distributions to facilitating COVID-19 testing, as well as pre-pandemic cultural activities such as book readings at Southwinds Park. “Having the Port as a formidable partner in multiple projects is really about creating collective impact and synergy that moves the neighborhood forward during these difficult times, but most importantly the future.”
Magana is also currently coordinating a COVID-19 vaccination site in Southwinds.
The Port of Hueneme also conducted a community survey to help inform their 2030 Strategic Plan through feedback from the stakeholders in the trenches.
“It is important that we hear from our neighbors so that we can plan accordingly on how to continue be responsible neighbors,” said Kristin Decas, Port of Hueneme CEO & Director. “We also need feedback from strategic equitable partners who can contribute so much to materializing a Green New Deal in South Oxnard.”