PALMDALE — A Switzerland based environmental services and engineering firm made a much-needed donation to the City’s South Antelope Valley Emergency Services.
Hitachi Zosen Inova donated a heavy-duty tent to aid SAVES for additional protection from the elements as the organization’s operation continues to expand outdoors.
Health orders due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic has forced SAVES into a change in food distribution from a walk-in pickup to a drive-through.
The SAVES staff usually set up three small pop-up tents outside to shelter the staff and volunteers to load food in and out of the facility and into waiting cars.
The increase in demand at the drive-through has made it difficult for SAVES mostly volunteer staff to safely receive deliveries from local partners such as Target, Walmart, Traders Joe’s and Food4Less.
SAVES Coordinator Patricia Morales said that before COVID-19, there would be approximately 70 to 150 food orders a day in a seven-hour workday.
“Today that number has swelled to 187 to 280 food orders in a three-hour drive-through distribution, serving over 3,000 families a week,” she said. “The line can stretch three to five blocks long.”
Representatives from HZI were impressed with SAVES’ ability to repurpose food that would normally have gone to waste. The company donated the tent when finding out there was a need from SAVES for more adequate covering.
“We are proud to partner with SAVES, a truly exceptional organization providing much-needed relief to local citizens — especially during these difficult times,” HZI CEO Bruno Baudouin said.
HZI is in the process of building an anaerobic digestion plant in the Valley. The plant will convert food and yard waste into green energy and nutrient-rich compost. State law (CA SB1383) requires municipalities to reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill by 75% by 2024 or face stiff penalties. The AD plant is supported by a grant from CalRecycle, devoted to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state.
“We look forward to supporting SAVES further and to receiving and re-purposing any new food at the new AD facility,” Baudouin said. “It is great to see the world working together like this and, at the same time, create new opportunities to put waste to its most productive use.”