"All the volunteers come here twice a week to gladly help 70 of our fellow veterans, seniors, disabled and others in need," said Arles Demayo, Post 603 commander.
On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, several RTSC volunteers go to Vallejo's Costco to pick up various fresh and frozen groceries and transport them to Community Presbyterian Church.
Like a military Class-1 Rations facility, the volunteers then "bulk-break" the ton of food into ready-to-go boxes. Then from noon to 1 pm, the groceries are distributed to several lined-up vehicles.
Before COVID-19, the program averaged 50 “customers” a week. The program was suspended during the shelter-in-place, but restarted as soon as Solano County allowed this activity and safety protocols were instituted. The demand has since gone up and 70 families are now being served.
"Along with the Vallejo Costco, we got grants of $10,000 from Wells Fargo and $10,000 from Phillips 66 to co-sponsor the program. Hand sanitizer, compliments of Savage & Cooke Distillery based at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, has been a new addition since the coronavirus struck," said Elizabeth Hoffman, Rebuilding Together Solano County executive director.
The American Legion started their nationwide partnership with Rebuilding Together through Resolution 109 at the 2009 national convention, and the volunteerism by Manuel L. Quezon Post 603 members is a great example of the local collaboration between the two organizations.
Rebuilding Together is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving affordable home ownership by providing free repair services at no cost to qualified veterans and their families. In the past 25 years, more than 2.5 million volunteers rehabilitated more than 150,000 homes and several hundred community facilities. The estimated value of the work is more than $1 billion.
The Solano County chapter is among the best nationwide. From June 2009 through November 2019, more than 12,000 RTSC volunteers have rehabilitated 40 homes for low-income homeowners (seniors/military/disabled) and held more than 50 community facility workdays in Solano County, Calif. In addition, RTSC has installed more than 2,200 smoke alarms and 600 carbon monoxide detectors benefiting 750 mobile-home residents. The estimated value of the work accomplished is more than $6 million.