(By Tedi Mae Tortolano)
As defined on the National Charity League website https://www.nationalcharityleague.org:
The National Charity League, Inc. (NCL) is a non-profit national organization that is committed to the development of mothers and daughters as leaders and is dedicated to improving local communities through hands on volunteerism. The NCL experience inspires and empowers women to succeed as confident well-rounded and socially aware contributors to society.Our San Fernando chapter of NCL, lead by current President Christine Ross, continues these endeavors with its affiliation with the West Valley Food Pantry. The NCL began its support in 1987 with major financial funding of food and goods, various fund-raising programs, and the active participation of member volunteerism in all these projects. The funds raised through The NCL Charity Ball enable them to give the Pantry a large amount of financial support each year for the food and homeless program through the grant request process.
Another NCL team: Samantha and Julie Nadler
(By Ruth Denburg Yoshiwara)
All West Valley Food Pantry Volunteers are capable, but the Senior Wednesday morning shift may be the most capable of all. On the first Wednesday morning of every month, the Pantry gets a huge influx of senior clients who come, not only for their weekly or monthly grocery order, but also for a special ten year old program for seniors offered by the Los Angeles Food Bank executed in the POP parking lot from 9 to 11 a.m.
Known as "Senior Wednesday" at the Food Pantry, but officially known as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program funded by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, this program distributes mostly EFAP food, with some additional items from the L A Food Bank. Low income qualification is not needed for this program. Each month, seniors (considered anyone over the age of 61) sign up at a table in the POP courtyard (usually manned by Pantry volunteer Jill Rotner) where they are given a ticket. Then, in exchange for the ticket, each client picks up a bag filled with groceries from tables in the parking lot in front of the storage units (also manned by our volunteers). Every registered senior in the household can get a bag.
Participants in Senior Wednesday need not be registered as Pantry clients, but many of them are, and they come in to the Pantry for their regular food order after picking up the "Senior Wednesday" package. The average number of seniors served on this one day is about 150, so you can imagine the crowd that must be processed in the Pantry! For this reason, Pantry Senior Wednesday usually is assigned 6 volunteers each month. The team is headed by Shift Leader Lee Tishler and manned by a crackerjack crew of "regulars" who have worked together a long time.
For our seniors, the first Wednesday morning of each month is a "Senior Moment" they won't want to forget!
The Prince of Peace Altar Guild pack food packages for homeless seniors
People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) is a non-profit that houses approximately ninety homeless
seniors (many of them veterans) in a beautiful apartment building in the West Valley. But none of
these seniors has transportation to and from our Pantry. Finding a way to serve this group of potential
clients required a little thinking outside of the box (or norm anyway).
PATH has volunteers from the Knights of Pythias who were willing to come to the pantry once a month and transport food to the seniors in their personal cars. The Altar Guild of Prince of Peace volunteered to be the first group to come to the Pantry and pack the month's food into packages. And nearly 60 homeless seniors without transportation became Pantry clients.
A big Thank you to the Altar Guild and the Knights of Pythias! We need volunteer teams to come once a month (the second Thursday) to pack these food distribution bags. If you are already a Pantry volunteer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer for a day. If you have not already filled out a volunteer application, go to our Volunteer page and join us.
Each Sunday during this year's Lenten season, the always active Women of Winnetka,
a group of volunteers at Saint Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, held a food drive in support
of the West Valley Food Pantry. This was the second Lenten Food Drive organized by the newly formed group.
This year's drive focused on the needs of the homeless in particular, but canned goods, snacks and non-perishables
of all kinds were donated by parishioners, then collected and delivered to the Pantry by the WOWs, as they call
themselves. Rich Poppenberg, Saint Martin's representative on the Board of The WVFP, worked with the WOWs to help
coordinate the drive and answer questions, but it was the amazing Women Of Winnetka who put in the time, effort
and commitment to make things happen, and their determination to ensure that "no one goes away hungry" which made
this drive such a success. As always, Saint Martin's parishioners responded to this appeal by filling the bins set
up in the parish hall. The WOWs look forward to continuing to open their hearts to help WVFP and the community
members they serve to truly thrive. Special thanks to Janice Smith and Jan Francis of the WOWs, for their dedication,
and to Ruth Mutti and Kate Varley of Saint Martin's for their assistance.
The Women of Winnetka (WOW)