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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes


"This is our time to be kind, to be calm, and to be safe."
- Dr. Bonnie Henry
Joann Godoy sets up the service line to distribute to-go lunches.
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Upcoming Events

  • EMPTY BOWLS 2020 Due to the pandemic, we will not hold our annual dinner and auction event. Please give to our Empty Bowls campaign if you are able. See below for more details.
Wish List

  • Hygiene Kit Items: New Pairs of Socks, Razors, Soap, Toothbrushes, and Toothpaste
  • Needed Foods:
    • Canned chili, stews, and soups 
    • Ready-to-eat and pop-top canned goods
    • Protein bars
    • Peanut butter and jam

PV Loaves and Fishes Welcomes New Director



PV Loaves and Fishes welcomes Ashley Bridges as our new Director.

This spring, the Board of PV Loaves and Fishes completed our search for a full-time Director, hiring Ashley Bridges, local Watsonville resident and PVLF volunteer. Prior to taking on the role of Director at the end of May, Ashley served as our temporary Emergency Pantry Administrative Assistant, maintaining records of program participation and food donations as the organization scaled up our operations in response to the pandemic emergency and increased need for food assistance. She quickly learned and assisted with many other aspects of our organization, becoming a versatile and valuable member of our team. 

After several weeks working at PVLF, Ashley submitted her application for the position of Director, with enthusiastic support from the staff. They appreciate the variety of skills and experience Ashley brings to her work at PVLF, along with her willingness to jump in and help on the front lines when needed. Ashley impressed the hiring committee with her dedication to our mission and her supportive and open-hearted approach to serving our community. To learn more about our new Director, please see her letter below.

Joann Godoy, our part-time Executive Director for the past two and a half years, will continue serving the organization as a volunteer. She and her husband Marc Godoy have volunteered with PVLF since March 2013, and Joann received our annual Bob Montague Volunteer Award in 2014. During her tenure as Executive Director, Joann shared her expertise as a Registered Dietician and project manager, enhancing the nutritional quality, quantity, and variety of our pantry and lunch menus, implementing green business initiatives and policies, and overseeing facility improvement and beautification projects. Joann also drew upon her experience in emergency food distribution during the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, when she organized efforts in North Monterey County while serving as Public Health Nutrition Programs Manager for the Monterey County Health Department, to adapt and scale our operations when the coronavirus shelter in place order was instituted in mid-March.

The Board thanks Joann for her service and continued commitment to our mission and organization and looks forward to working with Ashley as we support our neighbors in need during these challenging times.    

Letter from the Director


Greetings Loaves and Fishes Friends and Supporters,

I am overjoyed for the opportunity to be the Director of this amazing organization.

Since the first time I volunteered in 2012 I knew PVLF was a special place. Over the next eight years I drifted in and out due to conflicting work schedules, babies, and general life responsibilities, but I always found myself coming back to pick up where I left off. Jumping right in and helping amid the upheaval and fear of the pandemic was an ultimate reintroduction and perfect foundation for my position as Director.

I have lived in Watsonville for 15 years with my husband, Joaquin and three children: Kylie (17), Noah (12), and Luca (10). I am usually smiling and love to laugh and enjoy life. I enjoy hiding in my room to read and going on hikes in the forest with my family. I am also the Treasurer of a non-profit PTO at my son’s school to raise money to provide an equitable experience for all students.

I graduated from CSU, Monterey Bay in 2006 with a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in Human Development, when my daughter was three years old. I worked as a Data Analyst for the Department of Defense until my third child was born. I took several years off and returned to work as the Manager of a Skincare Spa in Santa Cruz for six years.

I am excited to work with the PVLF team of staff, volunteers, and community members to help feed the people of the Pajaro Valley. I endeavor to raise awareness of the needs of our vulnerable farm workers, homeless, working families living below the poverty line, and elderly populations.

I invite everyone to introduce themselves via email or dropping by, I love meeting new people and learning about your connection to Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes.

Here’s to new beginnings full of peace, love, and healthy food!

Sincerely,

Ashley Bridges
director@pvloavesandfishes.org
831-319-4570

Empty Bowls 2020 Fundraising Campaign 


Dear Friends,
 
We hope this letter finds you well during these challenging times. We invite you to join us in our essential work feeding our neighbors in need, as a sponsor or supporter of our Empty Bowls campaign to benefit Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes.

Since 2004, we have hosted our annual dinner and auction, Empty Bowls, to raise needed funds to support our food pantry and lunch programs, which operate five days a week year-round including holidays. The generous response from local ceramics artists and our supporters has made this event a popular annual gathering that provides more than a quarter of our operating budget. We are so grateful for this sustaining support.

Due to the risks posed by the pandemic, we will not be able to host our Empty Bowls dinner this year. If you are able, please join us in our mission to feed local farmworkers, working poor families, and homeless, disabled, and elderly individuals in our community with a gift to our Empty Bowls fundraising campaign. Your donation will sustain our frontline response to the pandemic emergency in the Pajaro Valley. Please see our website for giving options.

Since mid-March, Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes has been responding to the pandemic emergency, providing two to three times the typical number of pantry visits since the stay at home order took effect - including visits by hundreds of first time recipients of our services. We also began preparing 40 percent more lunches daily, switching to a to-go format to accommodate social distancing requirements. From mid-March through the end of April, we served 4,074 lunches (daily average of 120 meals served) and provided groceries through 3,030 pantry visits (an average of nearly 90 visits daily). We continue to meet the community's increased need for food assistance during the on-going pandemic emergency, as local unemployment has soared to over 20 percent and food insecurity has surged, especially among families with children.

In our more than 30 years of service to the residents of the Pajaro Valley, we have responded to the on-going emergency of hunger in our community and fed our neighbors in times of crisis - the Loma Prieta earthquake, the floods of the 1990s, the Great Recession, and now the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the generous outpouring of support from our donors, we have added temporary staff and purchased additional food and supplies to meet the increased need for our essential services. As the nation faces food shortages, we have increased our budget to purchase healthy staple foods, such as beans, rice, lentils, and peanut butter, that are currently unavailable through donation channels, to maintain the nutritional quality of the food we provide. We continue to offer a variety of fresh produce.

We will miss gathering around the table to share food and fellowship, as we have every fall for the past 16 years at our Empty Bowls events. Thank you for sharing our vision of a well-nourished Pajaro Valley community where all residents have access to healthy food. Please give to our Empty Bowls campaign, if you are able. We are truly grateful for your generosity and support.

Take care and be well.

Yours in service,
 
                       
Ram Tipton                                            

Board President                                     


Brooke Sampson
Board Member and former Executive Director

Empty Bowls 2020 Campaign Co-chairs
Give to Empty Bowls 2020


Volunteer Spotlight
Fernando




 
Fernando, local DACA student, gives back to his community.
 
Fernando is a Watsonville local and DACA student, often called a Dreamer, and he definitely has a dream.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) offers protection from deportation to young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.  The application process to become a DACA student is very tedious.  He first applied in high school and is required to reapply every two years.

Fernando was four when he and his family arrived in the United States.  His parents applied for citizenship 20 years ago, and are still waiting for their application to go through.  His parents value education and encouraged him to do his best in school.  His dad works two jobs to support the family. Fernando vividly remembers his Dad telling him, "I work hard so you and your brothers can have more opportunities in life."  That message significantly affected him and was a catalyst to start taking his education seriously.

Fernando recently graduated from CSUMB with a B.S. in Biology and plans to enter the Physician Assistant Program at his Alma Mater.  He aspires to work in pediatrics serving low-income children and their families.  He would like patients to feel "comfortable at doctors' offices and provide a place where they feel safe."

Fernando contacted PV Loaves and Fishes to gain additional community service hours while he is not working, due to shelter in place.  From the first day, he jumped right in, with his sleeves rolled up, ready to help.  Most mornings Fernando can be found in the kitchen helping make 420+ sandwiches for our daily lunch program.  In the afternoons he helps stock pantry shelves or checks in clients with positive and efficient manner.  Fernando fills in where needed, often anticipating the needs of the organization. He is an asset to our team and makes everyone's job a little easier.  He is impressed with the work Loaves and Fishes is doing for the community and says, "you never know what someone is going through, this is important work." 

Fernando is a wonderful addition to our organization, and we are happy to have him at Loaves and Fishes. Thank you for your service, Fernando!

Volunteer Opportunities


We are so grateful to our volunteers, who make our work possible.

Join us, and turn your compassion into action.

Take a look at our opportunities and find where you can help!
Pantry, kitchen, and office shifts are available Monday through Friday. We especially need help in the afternoons.




Pantry Assistants
Mon-Fri  9:00am-11:30am
1:00pm-4:00pm

 

Kitchen Assistants
Mon-Fri 9:00am - 11:00am
1:00pm -  4:00pm

 

Lunch Service
Mon-Fri 11:30am -1:30pm
 

Operations & Facilities
Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:00pm

Contact us for more info or to sign up to volunteer!
 
Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes
We feed, support, and serve our community. 
Copyright © 2020 Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, All rights reserved.


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