An oasis is described as a peaceful area in our everyday lives.
Loaves & Fishes has been a longtime partner with Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women. Sarah’s is a home dedicated to safety and dignity for a diverse community of women where they can begin new and productive lives. One way Loaves & Fishes helps to provide peace for their guests is with food.
Sarah’s has been a longtime partner with Loaves & Fishes, originally beginning as part of a pilot program. Previously, Sarah’s was struggling to provide a variety of food. They are currently housing 27 women and have had as many as 32 women all from different countries and backgrounds staying in the house at one time.
“It’s really hard just in general to provide all the culturally appropriate food that we need to,” said Cheryl Behrent, Director of Sarah’s…an Oasis for Women.
The women at Sarah’s come with diverse life experiences and are often starting their lives over in the United States. Anytime Sarah’s can provide a little sense of home in the form of food is a daymaker.
“It often starts with basic ingredients. Especially fresh fruit and vegetables,” said Behrent. “The residents are most grateful for the food. Anytime I ask what they need, they say, ‘thank you for the food.’”
Sarah’s had been taking weekly trips to the Loaves & Fishes warehouse for fresh produce before the pandemic. With the money they were saving, they could stretch their budget to get culturally specific food to go with the nutritious fruit and vegetables supplied by Loaves & Fishes.
“It’s really cool to see the way in which we work together with Loaves & Fishes,” said Alondra Rojas-Duarte, Sarah’s House Coordinator. “I never would have thought we would be able to supply groceries like this.”
Once the pandemic hit, Sarah’s was faced with a difficult challenge. They could no longer have three or four people pack into a van and make the warehouse trip to Loaves & Fishes. Knowing the importance of providing fresh produce to a longtime partner in need, Loaves & Fishes adjusted and began delivering to Sarah’s.
“We are really thankful that Loaves and Fishes continued to offer food services to our women,” said Rojas-Duarte. “It’s so important.”
With the new way of getting food, Sarah’s provided one of their residents with a new responsibility.
“I have a resident who has helped me throughout the process,” said Rojas-Duarte. “She is there to answer the door, she distributes all the food fairly and justly to everyone else. It has been amazing to see.”
The resident helps separate the food into two large industrial refrigerators. One that has bins for each resident to store their individual food needs and another one that is accessible to the entire household.
“Our whole program is based on partnership. Residents need all sorts of things to accomplish their goals,” said Behrent. “Food is a big part of that. Thanks to Loaves and Fishes, we always have enough food.”