Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes Newsletter
March, 2015

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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

Welcome to our first monthly email newsletter!
We are thrilled to bring you the latest hunger-fighting news straight to your email inbox every month. As always, we welcome your feedback in every aspect of our work. Please do not hesitate to contact us and let us know how we're doing, or how you would prefer to hear from us.
Thank you for your support and commitment to ending hunger in our community. We hope you enjoy reading!
    Yours in Service,

Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes Team
What's Inside


Farm to Pantry

In our commitment to provide the highest quality of food to our community, Loaves and Fishes partners with several local farms throughout Santa Cruz County. Building bridges straight from the "Farm to Pantry", these direct partnerships are essential to the success of our mission to feed and nourish the hungry. Through these relationships, we are able provide the most healthy, sustainable sources of produce, promote nutrition education, inform our clients on healthy sources of food, and reduce food spoilage and waste.

High Ground Organic owners Jeanne Byrne and Stephen Pederson stand amidst thier organic strawberry fields.

Amongst our several partner farms stands out High Ground Organics, who, in the past twelve months, delivered 8,735 pounds of fresh produce directly to Loaves and Fishes.  "We love supporting such a great program," say owners Jeanne Byrne and Stephen Pederson. High Ground Organics began donating several years ago in response to PVLF's need for more food. Rushing to the call, High Ground has been providing fresh produce through weekly deliveries ever since.

High Ground operates through their
Farm Stand and CSA Programs. They are currently in the process of preparing to receive Calfresh benefits in exchange for their healthy produce, an achievement that will allow them to better serve low-income individuals and families. For more information, please click here to visit their website.

Thank you, High Ground Organics, for helping us create a healthier future for the Pajaro Valley!

Long time PVLF volunteer Bob Montague unloads crates of nutritious leafy greens from a High Ground Organics delivery. This produce goes directly to our clients, many of whom have neither seen nor tasted these various crops

You're Invited!

PVLF Spring Reception

Wednesday April 29th 5:30pm-7pm

Join us for an evening of photography, wine, appetizers, and success stories straight from Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes
staff and volunteers. Spend an evening with us and see some of the improvements we have made in the past year.
Photographer Roger Vail will reveal his work with Loaves & Fishes. Come and experience the changes
we are making in the community!

To RSVP, please click here, or call 831-319-4570.
Save the Date!

Empty Bowls, 2015

Saturday September 19th 5pm-9pm


Preparations are already under way for Empty Bowls 2015! Save the date, Saturday September 19th from 5pm to 9pm, for what is sure to be a fun, relaxing, and delicious evening. Our theme this year, "Farm to Pantry", will highlight the local heroes who help feed us all. Enjoy drinks from local vineyards and dinner incorporating locally-sourced foods. Have fun, build community, and invest in a healthy, nourished, sustainable future.

Invites to come soon!

2015 Events

Mark your calendars- 2015 is sure to be an exciting year for Loaves and Fishes! We are building community, raising awareness, and serving more people than we ever have before. Join us for the events below, and stay tuned for more to come:
  • Volunteer Appreciation Lunch – Saturday April 25th  12pm-2pm at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes 150 Second St. Watsonville, CA, 95076
  • PVLF Spring Open House – Wednesday April 29th, 5:30pm-7pm @ PVLF - RSVP Here
  • The Human Race – Saturday May 9th
  • 2015 Empty Bowls – Saturday September 19th  5pm to 9pm @ Pajaro Dunes Lagoon House
  • “Love Mondays” at Discretion Brewery – October 12th 20% of all day beer sales benefit PVLF

Run for Food Justice!

  2015 Human Race

We are excited to participate in the 2015 Human Race this Spring! On Saturday May 9th, we will participate in the 5 mile Human Race Walkathon & Fun Run. We are asking friends and family of Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes to sponsor us in this effort by giving $10, $20, $50 or your level of choice, an by spreading the word amongst your networks.

Every day, lives are changed for the better at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes. Thousands of people receive delicious, healthy food that they would otherwise not get. These people are given the opportunity to nourish their bodies and minds with nutritious produce, so they are not only filling their bellies, but investing in the future of their own health.

For more information or to get involved,
visit our
Human Race Fundraising Page.

CalFresh Outreach

PVLF Helps Families become More Self Sufficient

Thanks to generous donors and community support, we have been able to make significant administrative upgrades that allow us to better serve our client families. An office upgrade in early 2015 included two new semi-private client intake stations, each equipped with new computers and a phone for client use. Close proximity to the clients allows us to provide more direct, individualized service, referring clients to resources as needed. The most exciting result of our upgrades is our focus on Calfresh outreach and enrollment. Calfresh, formerly known as Food Stamps, serves as an important income supplement, and supports health by providing low income households with benefits that improve food security and nutrition.

Pantry volunteer Geri McGillicuddy assists clients with their monthly groceries. Our program allows low-income families and individuals to redistribute income that would
otherwise be used for purchasing food.

Our Pantry team has referred about 15 clients to the county Calfresh enrollment team since our upgrades in January, and we plan to keep that number growing. In partnership with the Calfresh outreach team at the Second Harvest Food Bank, a PVLF volunteer is currently being trained on how to effectively educate and enroll clients to receive Calfresh benefits. This bi-lingual volunteer, who will be present once a week during our peak program hours, will review and submit applications on site, and will specialize in assisting Loaves and Fishes clients who face barriers such as immigration status or illiteracy.

We still need your help! We are looking for more volunteers to receive training and help conduct Calfresh outreach and application assistance during the peak hours of lunch service from 11:45am pm about 1pm, once a week. If you or a friend may be interested, please contact Kristal Caballero at or by calling 831-319-4570.

To support Loaves and Fishes work, click here to donate now.

For more information on Calfresh in Santa Cruz County,

please click here to view the California Food Policy Advocates' Report.

PVLF Photo Gallery

Photographer Roger Vail began a fruitful partnership with PVLF in late 2014 . Read why he choose to partner with us, and visit our new Photo Gallery to see some of the beautiful shots he has taken.

"Last Christmas, 2014, I noticed online that the Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and Kitchen was looking for a photographer. I called and asked if I could help. My first visit was at their annual Christmas dinner. It was the happiest Christmas I’ve had in many years. Since then I have been photographing all aspects of the L&F operation. I hope the pictures will be of help in getting out the word about what L&F is doing and the need for doing it.    

In making these pictures, particularly of the clients, I have tried to follow the approach taken by the greatest of all American social documentary photographers, Lewis Hine, who said: 'There are two things I wanted to do. I wanted to show the things that had to be corrected. I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated.' The people in his photographs never lose their dignity. You can feel their full humanity and his love of them.

I hope these pictures, in some modest way, can live up to his example, and can be of service to everyone at Loaves & Fishes."

Some of the photos Roger has collected of PVLF are displayed on the PVLF website. The remainder will be revealed publicly during our Spring Open House Event, April fihbj 
To view Roger's photos, please visit Loaves and Fishes' Photo Gallery.

PVLF Volunteer Awarded by City of Watsonville

Loaves and Fishes is proud to announce our volunteer and client Arturo Zuniga will be awarded the Cesar Chavez Community Award from the City of Watsonville. This award recognizes individuals who make Watsonville an ideal place to work, live and play through volunteer work that benefits the community. The City of Watsonville will recognize Arturo for his exemplary  modeling of the values espoused by Cesar E. Chavez: community involvement, volunteerism, and non-violent conflict resolution.

Arturo volunteers nearly every morning at Loaves and Fishes. His help is instrumental for our lunch program.

Arturo is a senior citizen living in Freedom, California. Every day, he arrives at Loaves and Fishes by 8:00 in the morning to help set up and get the tasks of day ready. He stays through lunch every day, as he is also a client of Loaves and Fishes, benefiting from the nutritious meals we serve. When asked why he volunteers with Loaves and Fishes, Arturo replied that he does it for his health; he suffers from type 2 diabetes, as well as arthritis and high cholesterol. Not only does he enjoy the noontime meal (turns out his favorite is Chef Maria’s delicious salad), but he appreciates the exercise he gets from being a volunteer at Loaves and Fishes. Arturo is always instrumental in the legwork here at Loaves and Fishes, from carrying heavy tables to set up our dining area, to unloading the boxes of food we pick up every Tuesday and Thursday from the Second Harvest Food Bank. Aside from the exercise Arturo gets from actually being at Loaves and Fishes, upon interviewing him, it was discovered that he walks nearly 40 minutes every day to and from his home in Freedom in order to be at Loaves and Fishes to make the daily meal happen. Talk about dedication and good exercise!


Loaves and Fishes staff and volunteers will celebrate with Arturo during the City's award ceremony on March 19th. We are proud to announce the award of such a worthy recipient.
Thank you for everything you do, Arturo!


History Behind the Bowls

Artist and teacher George Dymesich hand-crafts ceramic bows for our Empty Bowls Fundraiser.

How do the Empty Bowls make it to Pajaro Dunes every year? Local Artist and teacher George Dymesich is the driving force. Not too long ago, one of George's former students, a past PVLF volunteer, came up with the idea to create some ceramic bowls to donate to Loaves and Fishes. One exciting conversation lead to another, and Empty Bowls, an event that raises 25% of our operating budget, was formed! Twelve years has passed and the momentum hasn't changed.

On Saturday, March 7th, George and several of his best students gathered in his ceramics classroom at Santa Cruz High to create over 100 bowls for our next Empty Bowls fundraiser, Saturday September 19th. Using leftover and recycled clay, George and his students dedicated their entire day to create beautiful hand-crafted bowls, solely for the purpose of furthering Loaves and Fishes' hunger-fighting work. Thank you George, and all of your students at Santa Cruz Adult Education!

"Empty Bowls" dry before they are painted. Which one will be yours?

George teaches classes through Santa Cruz Adult Education every Tuesday and Wednesday from 6pm-9pm. For more information on his classes,
click here to visit his site.

Recipe of the Month

Baked Fennel

In response to client feedback about our nutritious lunches, Loaves and Fishes brings you recipes “From the Kitchen”. Enjoy the health benefits we are sharing with our community. Eat and be well!

During the Winter and early Spring, Fennel makes it’s way into PVLF meals a few times a week. High in Vitamin C and antioxidants,
fennel helps strengthen vulnerable immune systems and
acts as a cancer preventative.


  • Two fennel bulbs, halved lengthwise and cut lengthwise into ½ inch strips
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Spread fennel slices into a baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss with hands.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing after 15 minutes, until edges are crisp and brown.
  4. Remove from oven, taste for salt and pepper.
  5.  Serve warm as a veggie side dish, or let cool and mix into a green salad. Enjoy!
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