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Where to get food, financial assistance in Sonoma County during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you need assistance right now, here are local organizations that may be able to help.|

If you or someone you know is in need of help during the pandemic, here is a list of local organizations that are providing food, financial assistance and other resources.

Let us know what we've missed at onlineideas@pressdemocrat.com.

This story was last updated on Dec. 21, 2021.

Where to get food

Using Text FOOD, residents of nearly 30 ZIP codes in Sonoma County can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 707-353-6333 to receive a list of local organizations that provide free groceries and meals in their area. After texting the number, residents will be asked to indicate whether they’re in need of meals or groceries and provide their ZIP code.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is providing free food to residents in need without proof of income. Residents can visit the office (3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa) for a box of dry goods or to be directed to a pickup location. COVID-19 concerns have altered the hours of some locations, so visit getfood.refb.org for an updated list. Additional questions can be directed to 707-523-7900.

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Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa is continuing its free food distribution programs for anyone who needs help feeding their family throughout the pandemic. Go to srcharities.org/get-help for a list of days, times and locations. Call 707-528-8712 or go to bit.ly/3mqMczt for additional information.

Salvation Army is providing free food to any resident in need Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon during the pandemic. To receive food, go to the parking lot of the Corps Community Center (93 Stony Circle, Santa Rosa) with a valid ID. Families are limited to picking up groceries once per week. For more information, call 707-542-0981.

The Windsor Service Alliance Food Pantry (8987 Windsor Road, Windsor) is doling out free fresh produce and packaged groceries to Windsor residents in a drive-thru service Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit wsapantry.com for more information. For emergency food service, call 707-838-6947.

Healdsburg Food Pantry (1505 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg) is providing Healdsburg and Geyserville residents with free groceries on Tuesdays and Fridays from 3-4:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. Go to healdsburgfoodpantry.org for more information.

Ceres Community Project is providing free or low-cost meals to residents of Sonoma and Marin counties who are facing serious health challenges, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and are unable to purchase or prepare their own. Residents who qualify will receive medically-appropriate meals for up to 24 weeks delivered directly to their home. Visit CeresProject.org for more information, or call 707-829-5833, ext. 201 to apply.

Food For Thought provides free weekly groceries and frozen meals to people living with HIV and other serious illnesses in Sonoma County. The nonprofit also is now offering a COVID-19 nutrition program, which provides groceries to people with the coronavirus who are struggling to access food while in quarantine. Go to bit.ly/3stIKYK for more information about the program. For assistance, contact client services director Nina Redman at NinaR@FFTfoodbank.org or 707-887-1647 ext. 119.

Friends in Sonoma Helping (18330 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma) offers groceries available for pick up at 1:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Food is distributed to residents who call 707-996-0111 before noon the day of pickup. For more information, visit friendsinsonomahelping.org.

River to Coast Children's Services (16300 1st St., Guerneville) is providing west county families in need with free groceries and other necessities Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Face masks are required. For more information, call 707-869-3613 or go to rccservices.org.

The Living Room Life Center (1335 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa) provides those experiencing or at risk of homelessness with focused and individualized services. For more information, visit thelivingroomsc.org.

Food for All - Comida para Todos delivers food, hygiene products and other necessities to Sonoma Valley residents who are homebound, economically challenged or do not have transportation and can't access other drive-up distribution sites. Go to facebook.com/FoodForAllComidaParaTodos for more information.

COTS is providing hot meals to anyone in need seven days per week at Mary’s Table, 900 Hopper St. in Petaluma. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and dinner is served from 5-6 p.m. Each meal will be distributed in to-go containers and must be eaten off-campus. For more information, visit cots.org.

First United Methodist Church (1551 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa) offers free to-go meals at 4 p.m. every Tuesday in the parking lot. For more information, visit fumcsantarosa.org/our-community or call 707-545-3863.

Financial Assistance

Catholic Charities is offering housing counseling, budgeting workshops and free tax prep for those who meet income requirements. For more information or to see if you qualify for tax prep, visit srcharities.org/financial.

Nation’s Finest is providing temporary financial assistance and rapid rehousing to veterans who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes. For more information, call the local office (444 10th St. suite 102, Santa Rosa) at 707-578-8387 or go to nationsfinest.org.

File for unemployment

Residents who have become unemployed because of the pandemic can file an unemployment claim with the State of California at bit.ly/32yZQcL. Residents must meet the state's eligibility requirements, which include being physically able to work and being fully or partially unemployed, among other criteria. Go to bit.ly/3mqN3Ak for more information.

Rental assistance

Friends in Sonoma Helping (18330 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma) is offering rental assistance to Sonoma Valley residents from Schelville to Kenwood. Financial assistance is one time only, althogh exceptions may be made during the pandemic. After your application is received, a FISH volunteer will ask for a copy of rent and income verification. Visit friendsinsonomahelping.org/rental.html to fill out an application. For more information, call 707-996-0111.

Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County provides residents who are homeless or at risk of losing their home with one-time financial assistance and coaching through its HCA Family Fund. CAP also provides support for residents transitioning from short-term to permanent housing through its Pathways program. For more information, visit capsonoma.org/housing-assistance/.

Utility assistance

Salvation Army is offering to help people in need pay their water, electric and other utility bills. These services are available in the afternoon at the Corps Community Center (93 Stony Circle, Santa Rosa) by appointment only. For more information, call 707-542-0981.

The Santa Rosa-based nonprofit North Coast Energy Services is providing assistance with electric, natural gas, propane, kerosene or heating oil bills that cover at least 22 days of service. Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo county residents are eligible to apply. Once approved for assistance, a pledge is made on your account, and payment is credited within 8-12 weeks. The organization will repair and replace unsafe heating and cooling devices. For more information or to apply for assistance, go to northcoastenergyservices.com or call 1-800-233-448.

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Other resources

The CURA Project provides case management and routes residents in need of assistance to local organizations such as Corazón Healdsburg, River to Coast Children's Services and Vía Esperanza. For more information, visit proyectocura.org or call 707-309-8972.

California Free Legal Answers provides free legal help to anyone, regardless of immigration status, affected by the pandemic or 2020 wildfires. The online service is supported by the California Lawyers Association, American Bar Association and the Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative. California Free Legal Answers cannot help with any criminal matters. For more information, visit ca.freelegalanswers.org.

Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa is offering free immigration counseling and can assist with Green Card renewal, citizenship applications, family-based petitions and other similar services. For more information, call 707-578-6000 or visit srcharities.org/covid-19.

Santa Rosa-based nonprofit Better Beginnings has partnered with First 5 Sonoma County to launch the My Navigator Program, which provides free resources and information about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood to local families. The program also offers baby weight stations in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park. For more information, call the warm line at 707-902-3031. The line is available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days per week.

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