NEEDLES — The city has partnered with St. Vincent de Paul and Firehouse Ministries to provide each with $1,913.70 to support food distribution efforts.

The money came from a grant provided by The San Bernardino County Community Development and Housing’s Community Development Block Grant. The grant allowed the city to apply for funding to support activities that prevent and/or respond to the spread of COVID-19.

According to information provided by city staff, the City of Needles applied and utilized a large portion of the funds to support local food distribution groups with equipment, necessary personal protective equipment and food. Since late March, the local nonprofits have seen an increase in the amount of donated food by food banks and local businesses.

“We are very grateful and it will help us tremendously and it will help this community tremendously,” said James Jones of Firehouse Ministries.

“(We are) looking forward in assisting Needles residents who were affected by COVID-19,” said George DeLeon of St. Vincent de Paul.

City staff said that St. Vincent de Paul saw a demand increase of around 50% of which 20% are homeless and 25% are senior citizens. The average amount of families/individuals increased from about 80 to 120. Firehouse Ministries has seen a demand increase of around 100%, 10% are homeless and 20% are senior citizens. The average amount of families and individuals increased from around 80 to 160.

City staff stated that the funds that were donated will be used to buy food that will be given to persons who are low- to moderate-income and have been affected by the COVID-19 virus, either financially or they are practicing social distancing.

St. Vincent de Paul is at 839 Front Street, can be reached at 760-326- 4420 and is open Tuesday through Wednesday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Firehouse Ministries is at 809 Bush Street, can be reached at 760-443- 4342 and is open the first, second and fourth Tuesday of the month at their Bush Street location and the agency is downtown on the third Tuesday of each month.

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