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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"So we beat on, boats against the current,
borne back ceaselessly into the past."

                                                  - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Former Executive Director Brooke Johnson Sampson poses in front of PVLF in 2007. Nearly 10 years later, Brooke will rejoin the organization as
Executive Director on August 1st.
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  • Graphic Design Work
  • Laundry Volunteer
  • Needed Foods:
    - Frozen Ground Beef
    - Peanut Butter
    - Canned Chili
    - Canned Soups

PVLF Says "Goodbye" to Kristal, Welcomes New ED

A Message from the President, JM Brown:
Dear Friends,

It’s been quite a year so far at Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes — one full of exciting change and growth. As we look forward to our Empty Bowls fundraising and celebration dinner on September 10 at Pajaro Dunes, I want to take this opportunity to share some wonderful news.

First, as many of you have seen when you drive by or stop in to volunteer, the Solari House that is home to PVLF looks dramatically different than at this time a year ago. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, local contractors and volunteers, PVLF made $80,000 in safety and security improvements to the facility. In addition to an ADA accessible ramp, sun shade over the lunch service area, and new energy-efficient windows, the house also was painted and outfitted with new landscaping that exudes the peace we want clients to feel when they visit us.

Second, we are thankful to Kristal Caballero for her two years of service as Executive Director, during which she raised the organization’s profile, increased our annual budget, and was a strong advocate for nutrition education. On August 3, we will say goodbye to Kristal as she moves on to work
with Community Bridges while pursuing her Master's Degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley. Please enjoy her goodbye letter below:

Dear Friends of Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes,

The last two years at PVLF have been a time of great excitement, growth and satisfaction, a time that I have treasured deeply. Today, though, I am writing to inform you that, in light of beginning a Master’s Program in Public Health, I have accepted a position with Community Bridges, and have decided to resign from my position as Executive Director of Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes.

While I have many exciting and challenging journeys ahead, it is difficult leaving you and the wonderful work we do together. What we have accomplished over the last several years in the Pajaro Valley has fundamentally improved the lives of families and individuals experiencing hunger.  As is often the case, it’s the people who have made these experiences exceptional. The staff, volunteers, Board members, participants and supporters of Loaves and Fishes are all connected by one simple yet profound vision – that everyone in our community has access to the nutritious foods and support they need to thrive.

Together, we have inspired action in ourselves and others that has led to outstanding accomplishments. We completed our ADA compliant ramp, remodeled our facility, purchased an agency truck, and fed more people than we ever have before.  Not only has it been gratifying and enjoyable, most importantly it has resulted in better, more accessible services for our program participants. Now it is my goal to build on these rich experiences while serving the entire Santa Cruz County and beyond.

It has been a true honor to work and grow with this organization, and to be able to serve the Pajaro Valley in such a meaningful way.  Although I am leaving this position in the Pajaro Valley, I will continue to be a part of the county-wide efforts to combat poverty. So, this is not good-bye, but merely see you next time, albeit in a different capacity.

Thank you for the opportunity and pleasure to work with you all.

Kristal Caballero


After two years of serving as PVLF's Executive Director,
Kristal Caballero will say "goodbye" to PVLF on August 3 as shes moves on to work with Community Bridges while pursuing her Master's in Public Health.

While we congratulate Kristal on her new adventures, we excitedly welcome back former PVLF Executive Director Brooke Johnson Sampson, who will step into that role once again, effective August 1.

After serving as PVLF's Executive Director from 2006-2008, Brooke went on to serve as the Warehouse Manager and, later, Chief Operations and Programs Officer at Second Harvest Food Bank, a key partner of PVLF. Brooke is a graduate of Watsonville High School, earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and has a master’s degree in community development from UC Davis.


PVLF will welcome back former Executive Director
Brooke Johnson Sampson on August 1.

With this terrific transition in leadership, Loaves & Fishes is well positioned to continue succeeding expectations in the Pajaro Valley and serving a growing population of adults and children who are experiencing food insecurity. We hope you’ll join us at Empty Bowls to show your support for our mighty little organization, say goodbye to Kristal, and welcome back Brooke. We thank you for your commitment to ending hunger, and joining us in our mission to nourish the Pajaro Valley.

Yours in Service,

J.M. Brown
President, Board of Directors  

Empty Bowls Tickets on Sale!
September 10th  5-9pm

table settingbowls

We invite you to join us for our 13th Annual Empty Bowls dinner and auction! Since 1989, our Kitchen and Pantry Programs have provided nutritious food to the hungry people in our community.

Pajaro Dunes, one of our generous sponsors, provides the location for this event at the beautiful Shorebirds Lagoon House. Each guest will select a beautiful, one-of-a-kind bowl created by a local artist especially for our event.

Enjoy live music by the Black Eyed Susies, fine wines, gourmet appetizers, authentic Mexican cuisine, and delightful desserts along with exquisite silent and live auction items, and artisan ceramic bowls.

This year we celebrate the PVLF community who provide their time and special talents, farm-fresh produce and other groceries, and much needed funds. We hope to see you there!


Volunteer at Empty Bowls 2016

Empty Bowls is a unique opportunity to gain meaningful volunteer experience and to help us fight hunger year round.

We will need over 30 volunteers to help us make the evening's mission to end hunger a success!

 Volunteer Shifts and Roles:

Friday, September 9th
Morning set-up

Afternoon Set-up
Saturday, September 10th

Parking Patrol
Dinner Service*
Clean-up / Break Down
3pm - 11pm
Sunday, September 11th
Morning Clean-up

*Service experience or PVLF kitchen volunteers preferred

Contact Colleen to sign up! 
(831) 319-4571 or

Volunteer Spotlight

Paloma Herrera, Angelica Ruiz, and Sara Muñoz

This summer, the PVLF pantry has been a bustling hub of teen volunteers who have taken the opportunity to participate in youth-oriented service programs in their community. Paloma and Angelica are both Watsonville High School students who are spending their Summer at PVLF to gain experience working in service to others. They came upon the volunteer opportunity through YouthSERVE’s Summer Institute, a program that places teens to volunteer at local organizations. Angelica and Paloma’s love of food is what first brought them to PVLF, and they’ve since provided us with tremendous support. 

Sara volunteers at PVLF as a participant with Sueños, a program that provides job opportunities for youth. She volunteers five days a week in the pantry and in the kitchen, lending her help in all areas of our organization. She maintains a well-stocked pantry, and is currently training to assist with client intake. Sara also does her fair share of dish washing and sweeping up the dining room! Her dedication to helping others shows with her willingness to work hard to complete each day's tasks. She is here from morning til afternoon to take down the pantry, and make sure that our food items are ready to distribute the following day.

These young ladies have been of great help assisting clients with our grocery and produce distribution, as well as maintaining an enthusiastic attitude towards service. They are three great examples of powerful youth who are making real changes in the world!

Volunteer Opportunities

Turn your passion into action.
Take a look at our schedule and see where you fit!

Pantry Intake Specialists
Mon-Fri  9:00am-11:30am


Culinary Artists
Mon-Fri 9:00am - 11:00am
1:00pm -  4:00pm


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

Operations Specialists
Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm
Second Harvest Pick-Up and Delivery
Tues / Thurs 8am-9am: Select produce from warehouse and unload
Thurs 1pm-3pm: Receive delivery at Loaves and Fishes

Laundry Assistants
Help out our kitchen and volunteer to pick-up, wash, and drop-off our laundry loads! This is a great way to help out a whole LOT in a short amount of time.
Monday, Tuesday, Friday.
Days and times are flexible / may vary

Contact Colleen for more info or to volunteer!
Copyright © 2016 Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, All rights reserved.

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