Thousands of local residents received free COVID-19 supplies at a drive-thru and walkup giveaway on Jan. 15.
Cars started lining up around the block shortly before 10:30 a.m. when the giveaway began at Emmanuel's Furniture store at 1010 Cecil Ave.
Sponsors were Adventist Health, Delano Union High School District, Delano Union School District, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Emmanuel's Furniture and Delano City Council members Joe Alindajao and Liz Morris, said retired Delano Police Officer Mario Nunez, who helped organize Saturday morning's giveaway. He and Alindajao were among those handing out big bottles of hand sanitizer, protective face masks and anti-bacterial wipes.
"In all, there were 22 pallets of supplies," Nunez said, "from our great sponsors."
Motorists quickly navigated the furniture store parking lot, first getting packs of wipes then boxes of face masks and finally large containers of hand sanitizer.
Alindajao said providing these supplies to residents "is extremely important."
"Since the surge in the pandemic, giving out supplies like these raises awareness, especially with this new omicron variant," Alindajao said. "There has been an increase in cases of COVID, the worst I've seen it. A lot of people coming here today are not vaccinated, so it is important we can give them these items to help them practice safety measures."
Some residents who could not physically make it out to the giveaway still scored supplies, Nunez said. "We also delivered to several local businesses that had employees who could not attend, and to both our senior housing complexes."
For Nunez, who is running as a candidate for Delano City Council this fall, collecting and passing out supplies to those less fortunate has been a long-time mission.
"Since the pandemic started back in April 2020, I have helped in at least two of these types of COVID-19 supply/food giveaways every week," Nunez said. "Sometimes three a week."