A Message from our Interim Executive Director by Nancy Aeling
As Charles Dickens famously wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” As with the rest of the world, we at TACO continue to adjust to these times, and remain a beacon of hope in San Diego. We are a family made up of our generous donors, amazing guests, dedicated staff and those we serve...an imposing team indeed!
I am happy to say, TACO is not simply adjusting – we are growing! At a time when other organizations are cutting back on services, we are reaching out further. Brad Young has implemented a weekly clothing distribution and continues working with other agencies to extend services; Cindy Quinonez has been a networking genius and found low-cost sources for extra meals that are distributed at TACO and beyond: seniors at The Towers, low income families at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, women and children at Nueva Vida overnight shelter in addition to TACO’s walk-up clients. Bob Case and Silvia Covarrubias continue to provide the office support TACO needs along with the daily friendly smile that our clients need. The glue that holds us together... Wayne Boss!
Our operational support is growing as well. We recently dedicated the long-awaited lift, enabling us to better serve those for whom stairs are an obstacle. The kitchen boasts a new metal heat shield to improve safety and a new freezer.
Thanks to the generosity of Atonement Lutheran Church our kitchen utensils have been thoroughly restocked and an additional refrigerator installed.
We are happy for Kim Walker, whose husband was promoted to Navy Captain, but saddened that they are now deployed to Philadelphia. The Board is actively interviewing a social worker to take over the Going Home mission. As you are likely aware, Jim Lovell has asked for and been given a three-month leave of absence.
Please add your prayers to ours for his continued healing. As for your interim Executive Director, I am grateful for the love and support of our donors, staff and Board of Directors. I am blessed indeed that not a day goes by at TACO without giving me opportunities to say, “Thank you!”
"Do you serve food today?" by Brad Young
Countless times those words have been spoken on our property. On a Monday or Friday, the answer was always, “Yes!” however on any other day and the reply was frequently, “Let me see...”
Just for a second, imagine if you had no food or money, and no family or friends you could turn to. Imagine that your options for sustenance were the kindness of strangers or theft. I certainly don’t wish this on anyone, but to thousands of people, this is their daily reality.
As you can imagine, the pandemic has only made matters worse. More and more people we’ve never seen at TACO come to be fed, clothed and helped. With services dwindling, those not lucky enough to find shelter (over 700 Downtown), must find food somewhere, and, thankfully, TACO has remained open by staying lean, adaptable, and SAFE.
On Mondays and Fridays, a smaller and dedicated volunteer group serves take-out meals to an average of 110 guests. These meals are exactly the same as before (restaurant quality), just served “to-go” in bags with disposable utensils.
All safety guidelines are followed, and guests must dine
elsewhere...in other words, safety first.
What about the other days of the week? TACO (thanks to our own Chef Cindy) is now serving full meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 PM. A contingency of two to three volunteers help assemble our Fish to Families drop offs, and serve to an average of 85 guests, and growing, as word spreads. TACO has eliminated the lack of a Thursday meal Downtown, and provided a food option that the finest restaurants would be proud to serve. All of this taking place in the middle of a pandemic. The total cost to TACO.... $0.00.
What allows TACO to expand services and stay lean in the middle of a pandemic? Our volunteers! Many organ-
izations and companies throw the word family around in regards to staff and volunteers. At TACO we mean it AND it’s true. It’s your labor, ideas, joy, and ser vice that allow us to thrive. To all of you (past, present, and future) thank
you for being part of our TACO story!