We often get asked, “How does Valley Outreach know that clients need food, clothing, or client services help if we don’t ask them to fill out financial forms?”
We trust people to know when they need help and are happy to be here when they do. It’s hard to ask for assistance, so we try to make it as easy as possible for people to get the basic necessities they need. A person using one of our programs without really needing help is practically unheard of in our years of experience.
Many people we serve are working one or more jobs and still do not have the income to allow them to meet their basic needs, especially for food and housing. By offering free food, clothing, and assistance navigating social support programs, people can better manage their limited budgets. We do our best to mitigate economic issues created by systems and policies beyond the control of Valley Outreach and the individuals and families we serve.
In the U.S., people often feel shamed when they ask for help; sadly, it’s been that way for years. An article in Food Banks News stated that of people surveyed, ” 42% say they would feel embarrassed to use a [food] pantry, and 40% worry that others would find out.” As an organization, we work hard to make it easy for people to get help so they can live their lives and focus on working, caring for kids, managing their medical conditions, etc.
We do ask for some basic information to comply with a federal food program called TEFAP (see more at the bottom of the Info for Clients page). Accessing help through organizations like ours is very different than using federal or state supports, which have significant eligibility restrictions.
We don’t need to be one more barrier. We do our best to make it easy to ask for help.