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Cecil Czachow dies April 10, 2018

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of an amazing man and treasured Pantry Volunteer, Cecil Czachow. Cecil passed away suddenly last night. He had retired from the Pantry two weeks ago, and he came back to say "HI" Cecil Czachow just last Thursday. We are all saddened by his passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his family. He will be missed by all of us.

His granddaughter, Stacey posted the news on Facebook this morning (April 11):

Late Tuesday, April 10, my Granddad passed away. He was admitted to the hospital on Monday with influenza A and an extreme case of sepsis. Out of respect for his wishes, the family won't be holding a service or celebration of life. He wanted to be cremated and scattered off the coast of Santa Barbara where my Grandma's ashes were scattered as well. Thank you all for your love and friendship you gave to my Granddad.


The Food Pantry teams with PATH to serve homeless seniors

Altar Guild with PATH packages

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 to volunteer for a day. If you have not already filled out a volunteer application, go to our Volunteer page and join us.

Helping Fund the Pantry -- The CROP Walk

(By Elizabeth J. Carlisle)

A significant source of our Pantry funding, the CROP Walk has a long and fascinating history. CROP (the Christian Rural Overseas Program) was begun as a local grass roots fundraiser in 1947 to help mid-western farmers share their crops. CROP operated in both the United States and Canada, but the first official Walk to raise money and awareness was held in 1969 in Bismarck, ND. That Walk raised over $25,000, with over 1,000 participants.

Since that early beginning, the Walk has expanded to over 1,300 locations. The first San Fernando Valley Walk was held in 1976 in Northridge. The Walk has a volunteer coordinator typically sponsored by a church or temple.

This year is the Valley's 42nd Walk. Walk Coordinator Dianne Delaney from Church of the Chimes, Sherman Oaks has participated in Walks since she was in 7th grade! The Valley has averaged 100 to 150 walkers each year for the last 5 years.

Church World Services receives CROP Walk funds from throughout the nation. Internationally, funds are used to drill wells, teach crop improvement methods, supply food and water, and teach self-sufficiency methods. But a full 25% of all funds raised are returned to the local venue. In our area the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council receives the 25% of funds returned to the Valley. These funds are distributed to three major food pantries: West Valley Food Pantry (Woodland Hills); North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry (Studio City); and SOVA (Sustenance, Opportunity, Volunteerism, Advocacy) Jewish Family Services Community Food and Resource Program Valley Pantry (Van Nuys).

In 2016 each of these food pantries received $1,225, and for 2017, each will receive $1,445. Over the 42 years of the Walk in the Valley, supporters have raised $846,787. And that's a lot of peanut butter, folks! Our sincere thanks to all the organizers, all the walkers and all the supporters for your heartfelt and generous support.

How Does Our Garden Grow

Tedi Mae Tortolano

(By Tedi Mae Tortolano)

Sometime around 2010, the idea to start a small garden on the vast expanse of land surrounding the Prince of Peace church property began in a collaborated effort between Elizabeth Hart and Barbara Partridge funded by a donation of money from the Rev. Dr. William Turner Levy (whose name appears above the garden gate). "It became an Eagle scout project with the Boy Scouts building raised beds and three waist-high containers Barbara Partridge in the Community Garden to lessen the amount of back strain on the gardeners. Also two compost containers so that good nutrients can be added to the beds", explains Garden Manager Barbara Partridge.

Motivated by her love of nature, the garden project gave Barbara the opportunity to pursue and expand on her interest in gardening. In the desire to provide fresh veggies, "so that Food Pantry clients can maintain a healthy diet", Barbara is "trying to get a small cookbook together" to raise funds. She continues, "Elizabeth passed away three years ago, leaving a small legacy to keep the garden going. This fund is dwindling now, and we need to find a way that we can purchase plants for the future".

The winter crops include lettuce, arugula, cabbage, beets, snap peas, and herbs. The spring plantings include tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, and other varieties of squash. Gathering from the garden is done on Mondays and Wednesdays to supplement produce that is brought in from donor markets. "We appreciate volunteer help to pick on the off days, and we're always looking for suggestions --- things to plant that will be of benefit to the Pantry." Groups and/or individuals are welcome to participate in the garden/orchard project both to raise funds and by volunteering to harvest produce.

John Arnold in the Orchard The Levy Community Garden is flanked by rows of fruit trees. "An unexpected gift of 120 fruit trees arrived from the Episcopal Bishop's downtown office about six years ago", relates Arborist John Arnold. An irrigation system was installed, and the POP orchard began with the planting of peach, pear, plum and nectarine trees. Regular trimming, pruning, and watering are but a part of the nurturing care to which John devotes ten hours a week of his time. Planted in profusion up on the hillside is a variety of 100 non-fruit-bearing trees that require maintenance as well. John urges, "Bring us your lawn's grass clippings --- it makes good mulch".

You can join in this ongoing labor of love that culminates with the gratifying task of reaping the harvest of fruit for the Food Pantry. To volunteer your needed assistance please contact the Prince of Peace office to reach Barbara Partridge or John Arnold.

Emergency Food Assistance Program

(By Ruth Denburg Yoshiwara)

The West Valley Food Pantry receives food donations from Ralphs, Trader Joe's, Smart and Final, and Sprouts markets, but did you know we also receive food that originates from the Federal government? Pantry volunteers usually know this as EFAP food or emergency food. In our Pantry, EFAP food includes dried milk, rice, beans, canned tuna, packaged macaroni and cheese, oatmeal and canned soup and canned vegetables. Fresh produce is notably absent from this program.

EFAP is the acronym for the Emergency Food Assistance Program. It is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. It provides food and administrative funds to states to supplement the diets of these groups. The program, first authorized in 1981, was designed primarily to help reduce Federal food inventories while also assisting the low-income population.

Food is distributed to public or private nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to low-income Americans, either through the distribution of food for home use or the preparation of meals. In Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank receives EFAP food and passes it on to various food pantries, including WVFP. Recipient organizations must determine household eligibility by applying income standards set by their State. Only households that meet the income criteria may receive food for home use. Pantry volunteers that sign up new clients are familiar with the chart showing the income criteria for this program.

WVFP takes the emergency part of the Emergency Food Assistance Program moniker quite literally. If our clients ask for food, even if they have not waited the customary (and required) week or month since their last visit, we will always offer them EFAP food. No one should have to leave us hungry or empty handed!