Vicki Jones is a truck driver for the Wastewater Division of the SFPUC. On a normal day, she drives wastewater service crews to different locations throughout San Francisco, where they clean out catch basins (or as familiarly known as “storm drains”), flush out sewer main pipes and clean out debris. So when it rains, the stormwater has a place to go, or when it’s sunny, the streets and environment stay clean.
Last week, Jones and seven other drivers from the Wastewater Division of the SFPUC were tapped by the agency’s Department Operation Center on a critical mission: set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support its workforce and to help make food deliveries to the most vulnerable population in the City. San Francisco was on day 15 of the shelter-in-place order and it was critical that the food deliveries were made.
“Of course we jumped in and did it,” explained Jones. “It made me feel good. When you look at where we are today, what the nation or world is going through, that could be us. You can never assume who is one paycheck away from going hungry or without shelter.”
The food deliveries were to support non-profits and food banks who normally deliver food and meals to the needy of San Francisco on a regular non-COVID-19 day. Jones says once she arrived to one of the recipients’ home, she called them to let them know who she was and that she was delivering food.
“We would have to coordinate delivery and recipients would let me know when they were home,” explained Jones. “I had gloves and a mask on. I handed them their food and said have a good day. They were very grateful for it.”
In just one week, hundreds of deliveries were made. Jones says she will never forget the gratitude she felt coming from those she delivered food to and how important a simple smile can be.
“That smile might make someone’s day and it might even save someone’s life,” said Jones.
While Jones says she is thankful and feels blessed to have a job and a place to go, she is humbled. She hopes efforts like this one continue explaining that the need is certainly there.
“We delivered food to people with a roof over their head, the homeless, people in trailers and a lot of people who are one paycheck away from being homeless,” explained Jones.
In light of everything people are going through, Jones hopes humanity can find the good in people.
“You never know what is under that exterior shell of people. You don’t know what’s in their heart until you talk to them.”