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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It's about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment."
- Shauna Niequist
We welcome community members in need for lunch every weekday, year-round, including holidays.
What's Inside
Make a Gift
Upcoming Events

  • SPEND THE HOLIDAYS WITH US! Planning ahead for the holiday season? Email Cecilia for holiday volunteer opportunities.
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

Hospitality Is Love in Action

At Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, we welcome community members in need every weekday, providing access to healthy food and nutritious meals. As an organization, we strive to embody our values of service, compassion, and justice, by providing assistance in a hospitable and respectful manner that affirms the dignity of those we serve.

We recently completed our 2016-17 fiscal year, serving more than 25,000 meals and over 5,000 second helpings through our lunch program and hosting more than 8,100 visits to our pantry. Our dedicated volunteers and staff served more than 6,800 local residents with kindness and hospitality - "love in action."

We offer special thanks to our Kitchen Manager, Maria Gonzalez (pictured above), for being an example to us all of how to serve our community with loving kindness. This month, she is celebrating her 14th anniversary on staff at PVLF. Thank you, Maria!
Volunteers Arianna Tipton and Karen Shaffer serve appetizers at our 14th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Auction.

Annual Fundraiser Fills
Empty Bowls in Our Community

Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes hosted our 14th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Auction at the Lagoon House at Pajaro Dunes Shorebirds on Saturday, September 9th. The event was sold out and raised over $98,000 to sustain our food pantry and kitchen programs throughout the year, including funds to install solar panels to power our on-site cold storage.

Guests enjoyed appetizers catered by Monterey Bay Caterers, a selection of Hermitage Brewing Company beers, and local wines as they selected a hand-crafted ceramic bowl, browsed the raffle and silent auction tables, and listened to mariachi music by the local guitar duo, Los Hermanos Postizos. Our Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez and volunteer Chef Patrick Sigler prepared a trio of homemade soups - including Maria's popular pozole - for dinner, which was accompanied by salad prepared with locally-grown lettuces donated by Dobler & Sons LLC and rolls donated by Sumano's Bakery. Attendees enjoyed fellowship with friends at colorful tables, decorated with local flowers from Kitayama Brothers. A simple dessert of Driscoll's berries and an assortment of Monterey Bay Caterers' cookies concluded the meal.

We presented Chef Patrick Sigler (pictured below) with our annual Bob Montague Volunteer Award, in recognition of his twice-weekly volunteer service. His experience and expertise have helped strengthen our lunch program. He coaches volunteers and helps them develop culinary skills and brings new menu ideas to our kitchen. He also serves as our on-call Kitchen Manager, allowing our program to function smoothly when Maria takes well-deserved days off.

Board members Candice Elliott and Arnulfo Figueroa conducted a live auction to conclude the evening's program. We are grateful to our guests for giving so generously and making the event such a success. We hope you can join us next year! Save the Date: Saturday, September 15, 2017, at Pajaro Dunes in Watsonville.
Chef Patrick Sigler and Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez prepare dinner for our guests. We honored Patrick with our annual Bob Montague Volunteer Award at the event.
Watsonville City Council Member Felipe Hernandez selects a souvenir "empty bowl," crafted by a local artist for our event.
Feed Our Community

MANY THANKS for Your Support of Empty Bowls 2017

Our annual Empty Bowls event is a community effort! We offer our sincere thanks to all our sponsors, donors, and volunteers for making this year's event a success. It is the generosity and support of our community makes our work possible.

Enrique Mendoza, Santa Fe Mercados
Phair Properties
Richard & Mary Solari Charitable Trust

Charlotte Colavin
Dobler & Sons, LLC
Louis Jemison & Janice Manabe
Bob & Bev Montague

Lin Colavin
Corrine Flanagan & Rich Rubin
Jacob Young Financial Services
Kaiser Permanente
S. Martinelli & Co.
Ginny Solari Mazry
Rowland & Patricia Rebele
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Paul & Marlyn Tashiro

Bank of America
Biggam Christensen Minsloff Santa Cruz County Public Defenders
Glenn & Adele Eberhart
Adela Feran
Joann & Marc Godoy
Alycia & William Kennedy
Santa Cruz County Bank
Marsha Zeitlin
Facilities Sponsors
Monterey Bay Caterers, Ken Schwan
Pajaro Dunes Company
Pajaro Dunes North Association

Printing Sponsor
Mpress Digital/ Printsmith Aptos
Flower Sponsor
Kitayama Brothers Farms
Beer & Wine Sponsors
Hermitage Brewing Company
Tied House Brewery and Cafe
Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery
Stanley & Maria Bispo
Branciforte Vineyards
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery
Doug Feinsod
Grocery Outlet Watsonville
Cindy & Nick Jouras
Mark & Holly Schipper
Seascape Resort
Dee Takemoto
Food Sponsors
Dobler & Sons, LLC
Sumano’s Bakery
Watsonville Coast Produce
Maria Gonzalez
Patrick Sigler
Joann and Marc Godoy
King Medina Dry Cleaners
Jeff Raimundo
Jake and Cita Rasul
4 Winds Growers
Denice Austin
Stanley & Maria Bispo
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery
Café Sparrow
Bonnie Christensen
Sam Clarkson
Lynn Clough
Lin Colavin
DIG Gardens
George Dymesich
East End Gastro Pub
Ella’s at the Airport
Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co.
Rozene Enloe
Fin + Field at the Monterey Marriott
Corrine Flanagan
Friend of PVLF
Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria
Beth Gripenstraw
Cheryl Henriksen
Susan Leone Howe
Jaguar Restaurant – Dina Ruiz
Jean Johnson
Judi Wyant Antiques
Kelly’s Books
Kesa Designs – Charles Goodwin
King Medina Dry Cleaners
La Selva Beach Surf Shop
Emily Lefebvre
Emmett Linder
Live Earth Farm – Tom Broz
Lundberg Studios – Rebecca Lundberg
Betty Mullins
Martin Ranch Winery
Mutari Chocolate House
Nordic Naturals
Anna Oneglia
Palapas Restaurant y Cantina
Patagonia, Santa Cruz
Pelican Ranch Winery
Prime Home Loans
Nancy Quickert
Robin Rhodes
Rocket Farms
S. Martinelli & Co.
Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets
Santa Cruz Shakespeare
Santa Cruz Symphony
Santa Cruz Warriors
Seascape Golf Club
Karen Shaffer
Spring Hills Golf Course
Staff of Life
Stripe Men
Kathy Stutz-Taylor
Tied House/Hermitage Brewing Co.
The Garden Company
The Hideout
Trader Joe’s
Treasures by Ginny
Venus Spirits
Verve Coffee
West End Tap & Kitchen
Augusta Anderson
Juliette Arnold
Denice Austin
Ed Austin
Trudi Burney
Debbie Burns-Walton
Sam Clarkson
Sharon Coffey
Lin Colavin
Sally Diggory
Franco DiMajo
George Dymesich
Jo Heady
Susie Heady
Angela Johnson
Kelly Murray
Christine Olivero
Nancy Perkins
Nancy Quickert
Randall Reid
Jane Reyes
Kelsey Rice
Billy Silavo
Jerry Spodick
Terry Spodick
Jessamyn Tardif
Brenda Townsend
Alexis Troll
Wild Woman Pottery
George Dymesich and ceramics students of Santa Cruz Adult Education
Jane Reyes
and ceramics students of Watsonville / Aptos Adult Education

Sally Diggory and Aromas Hills Artisans
Ceramic artists of Santa Cruz Mountain Arts Center
Ceramic artists of Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild
Ceramic artists of Montara, San Mateo County
Joann Godoy, Chair
Bonnie Christensen
Lin Colavin
Candice Elliott
Arnulfo Figueroa
Corrine Flanagan
Marc Godoy
Jim McKay
Bob Montague
Linda Moore
Sara Muñoz
Cita Rasul
Tad Sterling
Special thank you to all our Volunteers and Servers!
Candice Elliott, President
Cita Rasul, Secretary
Lin Colavin, Treasurer
Louise Buckingham
Arnulfo Figueroa
Joann Godoy
Tony Gregorio
Lars Laslett
Ram Tipton
Casey Wu
Jeanette Arias, Pantry Coordinator
Cecilia Cervantes, Operations Manger
Maria Gonzalez, Kitchen Manager
Brooke Sampson, Executive Director

PVLF Welcomes New Staff Member, Cecilia Cervantes

Cecilia Cervantes (pictured above) joined PVLF as a volunteer in early 2017, and then participated as a full-time job trainee in our Kitchen Program for five months through a partnership with the Center for Employment Training. She previously worked in local agricultural sector businesses, including a number of years in nursery operations. On September 1st, she joined our staff as our Operations Manager, coordinating volunteer services, overseeing food inventory, and managing our facilities. A lifelong Santa Cruz County resident, she is thrilled to work in the non-profit sector, serving our local community.

This new staff position will maintain continuity of services as our organization undergoes transition in the coming months. Executive Director Brooke Sampson will be taking an extended maternity leave starting at the end of October and will return as a Board member in 2018. Long-time volunteer Bob Montague will be stepping down from his role as Operations Volunteer this coming Spring when he celebrates his 85th birthday. Board member Joann Godoy will serve as part-time Executive Director, heading up a dynamic team of Cecilia, Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez, and Pantry Coordinator Jeanette Arias.

Honorary and Memorial Gifts

In Honor
Lin Colavin by Kristen Marinovic
Lin Colavin by Jerry and Terry Spodick
Trino Castro by Annie Gutherie

Honor a friend or loved one with a gift to Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes.
Your donation will provide nutritious food to local community members in need, and your honoree will be recognized in our e-newsletter and receive an acknowledgment by mail.
Donations can be mailed to us at 150 Second Street, Watsonville CA, 95076, or made through our website.

What's Happening @pvloavesandfishes

Follow us on Instagram @pvloavesandfishes to get updates on our PVLF community throughout the month!

Here are a few highlights from the past month:

"Many thanks to Lyn and Echo, students at Monte Vista Christian School of Watsonville, for raising over $200 to support our programs by selling school supplies on campus and in their dorm!"

"Thank you to Little Caesar's Love Kitchen for making dozens of pizzas for our lunch service today! We appreciate driver Ben and cooks Adriana and Dulce from the Watsonville store for helping us feed the community today. The Love Kitchen, a commercial kitchen housed in a 53' semi truck trailer, is on the road every day of the year, feeding people in need since 1985."

"Thank you to Brianna for helping Board member Joann Godoy tend our bountiful garden."

Volunteer Spotlight
Mary Esther Rodriguez-Najera

Esther volunteers with us in the kitchen, five days a week.
Our September Volunteer of the Month is Watsonville resident Mary Esther Rodriguez-Najera. Esther joined our team in June and has already given more than 450 hours of service. She is a participant in the Center for Employment Training's work experience program.

Esther came to us with excellent customer service skills from her past work experience with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and Mi Pueblo Market. A long-time, bilingual local resident, Esther puts her great people skills to use daily at PVLF, interacting with our diverse community of program participants and volunteers with kindness and grace. A self-described "comedian," Esther is also skilled at making people laugh, helping the work day to go by quickly and keeping the mood light.

In addition to her fun personality, we really appreciate Esther's good attitude and hard work. She is a true team player and a joy to work with. As Operations Manager Cecilia Cervantes observes, "Esther is willing to help with anything. And her twinkly eyes make us smile!"

Thank you, Esther, for being a part of our PVLF team! We appreciate you.

Volunteer Opportunities

Turn your compassion into action.
Take a look at our opportunities and find where you can help!

Pantry Assistants
Mon-Fri  9:00am-11:30am


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
Tues 1:00-2:30pm Receive and store weekly food delivery

Contact us for more info or to sign up to volunteer!
Copyright © 2017 Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, All rights reserved.

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