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A Message from the Chairman

March was a busy month for the pantry as we served 2,212 people between our Prince of Peace and Family Rescue Center locations. The equivalent of 11,607 meals were provided this month and over 22,654 year to date. With your help and commitment we have been able to continue our mission to get food assistance help to our neighbors that face serious food security challenges. Thank you!

Representatives from the West San Fernando Valley chapter of the Rotary Club sponsored a Help Fair at the Canoga Park street festival Saturday, March 12th.  West Valley Food Pantry volunteers were on hand at the event to provide information to the public concerning the services offered by the pantry. Information was also provided concerning free weekly community dinners available in the area.

The event provided a networking opportunity for WVFP representatives to speak with other charitable organizations to talk about ways the groups can work together. Addressing food insecurity issues is the primary goal of the WVFP.  As the WVFP continues to evolve as an organization, it is important to develop relationships with other community service providers to expand our ability to connect clients to the services available to them in the community. 
 
Pantry Chairman Richard Podleski (2nd from left) along with several volunteers speak with other charities at the Rotary Health Fair, Saturday, March 12th.


Volunteers Mark and Tim Abad (from left) along with Pantry Chairman Richard Podleski and Board member Rich Poppenberg inform and educate the local community about Pantry services. 
 
Working together we can make a difference in our neighborhoods by improving access to senior services, meals on wheels, transportation services, homeless housing referrals, mental health services, child development and family services.  Other organizations present at the event to help achieve this goal included: 

The Valley Interfaith Council (VIC), www.vic-la.org
The Friendship Center of Canoga Park (El Centro De Amistad), www.ecda.org
The Child Development Institute, www.cdikids.org
Angels Way Maternity Home, www.angelswayhome.com
Vesper Hospice Services, http://vesperhospice.com
 
Preparations are currently underway to prepare for the May 14th National Stamp Out Hunger drive with the local Post Offices. To help accomplish a successful event we have a new Food Drive Coordinator volunteer, Julianne Sorice, who will be taking over that area that was previous managed by Susan Connor. Please welcome Julianne to the team.

As our organization experiences continued growth we need to re-double our recruiting efforts to obtain new, In-Pantry Volunteers and promote qualified current volunteers to Pantry Shift leader positions. Please help us recruit new volunteers by utilizing your personal social networks. Interested parties can apply by going on-line to the pantry web site at www.westvalleyfoodpantry.org and filling out the on-line application indicating their area(s) of interest. We always need In-pantry staff and computer help with the client intake process.  Please let Margaret Shively know if you are interested in becoming a Shift Leader, as we have a shortage of volunteers for this role and need your help in filling the gaps.

We will be recruiting a new Pantry Supervisor as Margaret Shively prepares to retire. This will be a part time paid position as approved by the board of directors at the 3-14-16 meeting. Qualified candidates will need to be available to open the pantry 4 days a week, help with the a.m. setup, and direct staff. The supervisor role will be expanded to include all purchasing activities, inventory coordination and management, volunteer training and procedure implementation, supervision and staff development processes. Computer literacy is required. Interested persons may forward a resume to me at wvfoodpantry@gmail.com , using the subject line “Supervisor”.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to serving our community. Because of you, we continue to Serve, Respect and Connect with our neighbors and provide help to those in need, making a better community for all.

In your service,



Richard Podleski
WVFP-Board Chairman


From Debbie’s Desk

It’s springtime at the pantry.  The rain has allowed our fruit trees to bloom and the vegetable garden is producing lots of lettuce for our clients.  There’s a freshness to the air that always raises spirits and brings new life to old ways.

Looking at our calendar is always exciting.  We have new groups and companies collecting food and doing food sorts.  This month we welcome Rocky Peak’s Life Group to our grounds to sort donated food. We also thank the San Fernando Quilt Guild for their generous contributions. Southern California Teachers Group District 3 sponsored a food drive at their Warner Center Marriott conference this month. Thanks to their support the WVFP received over 40 boxes of donated and sorted food.
 
We would also like to thank the Bell Canyon Homeowners Association for their efforts to raise over 100 boxes of food donated to the pantry. A special thank you to Abbey Rosenfeld for her great job and long term commitment and service coordinating this event!

One of the West Valley Food Pantry’s sources of food for clients comes from donations received through community food drives. These events are an integral part of our food delivery system. Food drives are a great opportunity to invite your friends, work and social organizations to make a difference in the community. If you would like information on how to start a food drive please email your inquiry to wvfoodpantry@gmail.com and a coordinator will provide you information to get you started.

Please post on your calendars May 14th as this year’s date for the US Postal Food Drive.  We receive thousands of pounds of food from the Woodland Hills Post Office and we’ll need all hands on deck for that event.

ALSO happening in the Pantry:

Computers in the Pantry! We began using our database in the Pantry to process our clients every afternoon and have just begun doing it in the mornings.  This is a slow transition so….VOLUNTEERS, PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH THE PROCESS! We’re trying to make the transition as smoothly as possible but getting from Point A to Point B is rarely a straight line. Over the next two months, unfortunately, we’ll be increasing the workload. BUT THEN the client cards will be retired and the process will be quicker and easier.  Just imagine! No more searching for cards and no more alphabetizing.  IF you’d be interested in learning the computer process (It’s amazingly simple!!!) just contact me in the Pantry office or email me at FoodPantry@popwh.org. I’d love to train you!!!  Again, please be patient while we grow and change for the better!

We’re planning a Community Health Fair! For the first time the West Valley Food Pantry will be having a Health Fair on Saturday, June 4th. Please mark your calendars now. We’ll be sharing more information in the coming months.

As we celebrate Spring, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter this month I want to thank all our wonderful volunteers for the love, kindness and consideration you show our clients.  It’s our volunteers that make possible the work we do in feeding the hungry.

THANK YOU!  


Debbie Decker
Community Outreach and Development Officer
 

The Community Garden is Looking for a Few Harvesters!

We are currently growing lettuce, cabbage and snap peas.  I am not able to pick every day and if the cupboards are bare in the Food Pantry, I would like a few people who work there to do some harvesting in my absence.  Please contact me, Barbara Partridge. I will also need occasional help with planting and weeding.  Tomatoes have been planted and I'm hoping for a bumper crop this year.

The Pantry is in Bloom! Thanks to the recent rains, the 150 fruit trees are in bloom at the West Valley Food Pantry.
 

We're looking forward to a great season of fresh fruit from the trees on our site. Peaches, Nectarines, Oranges and much more will be a flavorful addition to our client's tables this summer!

Thank you to Our Warehouse Operations Volunteers!
We would like to thank Santino and Cecil for coordinating our March Food Drives. Without their contributions of time and muscle, the pick-up, delivery and storage of these valuable donations would not be possible. Without their efforts and those of our stockers Ray Wagner, John Pan, and other volunteers, our pantry operations would come to a screeching halt. Thanks Guys!!
 

     

We’d like to thank the following Donors:
A special thank you to Eli Cohen for his extremely generous financial gift.
Margaret Bothwell -  In Loving Memory of Kenneth Bothwell.

On Going Support:
A Big Thank You to Trader Joe’s and Sprouts for their ongoing support providing food to the pantry! Your weekly donations make a vital difference in the amount and quality of food we are able to provide to our clients.

Thanks to Smart and Final and Ralphs for providing assistance with our weekly purchases. Your contributions of staff support to help process our orders and load the delivery truck each week make our job much easier! Your annual financial support helps us make a real difference in the community!
 
We Need Volunteers!
You can volunteer to help at the Food Pantry by filling out our on-line application

We can now accept online donations!
 

We accept credit and debit cards (as well as PayPal). You do not need a PayPal account!



 

About the West Valley Food Pantry

The WVFP has over 200 volunteers serving about about 2-1/2 hours, 1 day a month. They purchase or take delivery of food shipments, stock shelves, validate client eligibility, maintain distribution records, shop for specials, buy and pick up food, as well as assist in the daily distribution.

We serve twelve zip codes that cover the West San Fernando Valley. Our efforts are made possible by the contributions of both food and money we receive from the local community and our coalition members. Donations are always welcome as we strive to insure that "No one goes away hungry". 
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