When Long Beach resident Stephanie Flores noticed how the coronavirus pandemic was affecting her community and her family, she wanted to do something.
Flores knew how difficult it was to not always have sufficient funds for everyday items, including masks.
Inspired by the LA Community Fridges being set up in and around Los Angeles to combat food insecurity, Flores realized what she could do.
The group decided to organize a food drive to get necessities to the people who needed them most.
“Just being able to provide some type of help means a lot, because I know sometimes it’s hard to ask, so it’s easier when it’s just there and you can just go and get some type of resource,” Flores said.
Flores created a flyer and posted it on Instagram, where she was able to connect with Long Beach residents Carlos Omar, Diego Cuevas, Karen Patron and Elmer Acevedo.
Within a few months, they came up with a more direct approach of handing out food items.
“Stephanie made a group chat with everyone that reached out that was interested, and you know not everyone could commit [to a] time, so eventually it kind of just came down to about the five of us,” Omar said.
The five of them became the founders of Norfsidelb, an organization that works to provide relief to low-income communities in Northside Long Beach by providing basic necessities, and in the future, provide other services to help during a pandemic.
Utilizing social media and personal connections to their advantage, Norfsidelb was able to come up with food and money donations, and secured Ricardo’s Nursery, located on Atlantic Avenue, to host their drive.
On Oct. 10, Norfsidelb held their first food drive.
Starting at 7 a.m., the organization offered free boxes of food which consisted of various canned items, nonperishables and water to the first 50 people in Long Beach.
“Making life a little easier and not feeling the pressure of providing for your family, figuring out where you need to get your food from, this [food drive] kind of elevates that stress,” Cuevas said.
One in four people in L.A. county households have experienced food insecurity at least once from April to July, according to study done by the Public Exchange at the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
“Providing help for our community is important, I know for a fact that when me and my family were in a tight place,” Patron said. “When I reached out to Instagram or to all the people that I knew, they were more than happy to help out my family when we started a small mask making business and so the power of really connecting with one another to really help out our community is just beautiful.”