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Arnie Kamrin — Providing Care Kits to Families-in-Need with Children

Written by Shelley Hebert; Nominated by Barbara August and Francine Ruvolo

As schools in the San Jose area shut down, thousands of low-income families also were without a critical source of meals for their children. In addition, the sudden huge increase in lost jobs and temporary layoffs among working parents greatly increased the need for urgent action to ensure access to food.

Arnie Kamrin is among those responding through a grassroots effort known as SJ SHIP Kits, which is operating out of the San Jose Amory. With the goal of assisting families-in-need with children from ages six to twelve, the group provides “care kits” to help with everyday needs. The kits include food, health items (such as hand sanitizer, thermometer and toilet paper), as well as games and puzzles for children. Each costs about $50.00 to produce.

“We have, to date, distributed over 5,000 kits in partnership with Hunger at Home,” Arnie said. He reported that there was a line of people two miles long waiting to receive a combination of groceries, prepared meals and the SHIP Kits. The goal is to increase the production of care kits to 6,500 per week.

The collaborative effort is bringing together diverse partners ranging from professional sports teams (San Jose Giants, San Francisco Giants, San Jose Earthquakes, San Jose Sharks) to area businesses (Adobe, Zellee, Sysco, Clif Bar), educational institutions (San Jose State University), funders (Ella Fitzgerald Foundation) and many others. SJ SHIP Kits is a nonprofit organization staffed entirely by volunteers.  “I am so grateful to be part of this project,” said Arnie.

In addition to installing refrigeration to enable storage and distribution of unused produce that would otherwise go to waste, the group is exploring ways to work with the City of San Jose and County of Santa Clara.  It hopes to support training of laid-off hourly workers with skills that would enable them to assist in testing and tracing of individuals who might become infected by COVID-19 after the current shelter-in-place order is lifted.

To learn more about SJ SHIP Kits or donate, visit Volunteers are needed and can sign up online. The SJ SHIP mission is to provide emotional, financial and nutritional support for Santa Clara County community members whose livelihood has been negatively impacted by the state-wide Shelter in Place mandate.

Tue, January 19 2021 6 Sh'vat 5781