'Times are tough': Residents flock to pop-up food bank in Santa Rosa amid COVID-19 crisis

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- When Henry Ford invented the assembly line, could he have imagined it being used in a circumstance like COVID-19?

"I don't think anyone on planet Earth right now had been through anything like this," said David Goodman of the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

He said that while standing beside a winding, double-line of cars filled with people already impacted by a microscopic virus they can't see.

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They came to the church parking lot, waiting for bags of food in a pop-up drive-through.

"Times are tough right now," said one recipient who said his name is John.

If it is any indication of the need, the Redwood Empire Food Bank scheduled the event to begin at 2:30 p.m., but when cars threatened to clog the Stoney Point Road at 1:30 p.m., they opened an hour early.

"It's just a lot of need right now because people don't have their jobs," said volunteer Stephanie Hernandez.

"I'm shocked. I am really surprised by the crowd," added Sheri Scott, a volunteer who helps schools with yearbooks in real life. Or, maybe this is a more edgy form of real life.

The need has certainly become immediate.

"This is everyone," she said. "I volunteered through the fires and that was whole communities. This is the world."

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Every car received three bags filled with produce, eggs, meat, and dried goods.

Volunteers wearing gloves and masks placed those bags into trucks -- a new form of social distancing.

No need to go to a grocery store, stand in line and take chances.

"I think it is an amazing thing. I went to the story the other day looking for celery and couldn't find it," noted Michael Orme, another volunteer.

So amid what might be a time for despair, here's the opposite.

On the surface, it was a gift of food, but drill down a few layers and we'll find much more -- hope.

The knowledge that even in this moment of uncertainty, when people pull together, we can still have each other's backs.
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