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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"The onions do not chop themselves.'"
- PVLF supporter Betsy Andersen, during a visit to our kitchen
Preparing healthy meals requires a lot of prep work daily. Volunteers help Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez (far right) chop onions and vegetables every day.
What's Inside
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Upcoming Events

  • JOIN US! Community Reception at Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes - Thursday, May 11th, 5:00-7:30pm RSVP at
  • BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE Chef Jesse Plasencia's Pop-Up Dinner to Benefit PVLF at El Alteño Restaurant in downtown Watsonville - Thursday, June 1st Tickets are $60 each and are available at
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
Volunteers Judy Schultze (far left), JM Brown, and Karen Shaffer (far right) help Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez serve lunch.

We Love Our Volunteers!

The last week of April is National Volunteer Week. But, at PVLF, every week is volunteer week! With a staff of just three employees, our work is only possible with the dedicated service of our amazing team of volunteers.

Over 400 individuals assist us in our food pantry and lunch programs over the course of the year. Together, they give over 25,000 hours of service! That is the equivalent of an additional 12 full time employees.

This week, we are highlighting some of our awesome volunteers on Instagram (find us @pvloavesandfishes). On Thursday, May 11th, we are hosting our Community Reception (see details below) to celebrate the volunteers and donors that join us in our mission to feed, support, and serve our community year-round.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the volunteers that have helped us feed our neighbors in need since 1989. Our 28 years of continuous service to the community are a testament to your commitment to hunger relief in the Pajaro Valley.



Above (from top): Gabriel and Mary assist Jeanette in the Pantry, Board members Lin and Arnulfo serve lunch, students from Watsonville Charter School of the Arts volunteer weekly during the school year, Graciela helps clean up the kitchen, Officer Lopez pitches in on the dish washing station, the Kohl's Cares team from Capitola volunteers on the serving line. 
Feed Our Community

Join Us May 11th!
Volunteer and Donor Appreciation Reception

A Celebration of the Donors and Volunteers
that Make Our Work Possible
Thursday, May 11, 2017
5:00 - 7:30pm
Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes
150 Second Street
We are proud to be a community-supported organization. It is the generous support and service of hundreds of donors and volunteers that makes our work possible. In appreciation for your dedication to our mission, we invite you to a celebration of our vibrant and diverse Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes community.

Please join us for an evening of delicious appetizers, dessert, beer and wine, and fellowship.

Please RSVP online

We hope to see you!

Doing Our Part to Reduce Waste

Our food system - including the production and transportation of the foods we consume - is one of the most intensive ways that we impact our planet. Every day, the choices we make at meal time impact our environment. By choosing local and sustainably produced foods, selecting items with little or no packaging, avoiding single use items (such as cups, straws, plates, and utensils), and saving or sharing our leftovers, we can reduce our dietary footprint.

One of the biggest issues is food waste. An estimated 40% of food is thrown away in the United States. Meanwhile, 42 million US residents struggle with hunger. Charitable food organizations like PVLF work to address both of these issues by collecting excess food and distributing it to people in need. Our volunteers collect perishable food donations from local grocery and retail businesses six days a week to stock our shelves and prevent food waste. We obtain additional donated food items through our partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County. Our pantry makes these items - including B grade produce and bread and bakery items - available to our program participants.

Our kitchen program also works to prevent waste. We utilize reusable plates, cups, and utensils in our lunch service to avoid sending single-use items to the landfill. Our busing station includes a container for food waste. These food scraps, along with the peels, cores, and leaves leftover from meal preparation, are collected by two local residents for use in livestock feed.

If you have an abundance of produce in your backyard garden or on your fruit trees, we are happy to accept donations during our open hours (weekdays, 8am-4pm). Thank you for supporting our work to connect local people in need with healthy food and prevent food waste.
Sister Suazo and Sister Bocanegra, Mormon missionaries serving in Santa Cruz County, help sort and recycle food packaging.

Honorary and Memorial Gifts

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.

Chef Jesse Plasencia to Host
El Alteño Benefit Dinner on June 1st

Chef Jesse Plasencia - Executive Chef of The Pacheco Club in Monterey, California and past Board member of Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes - has a sumptuous menu planned for the benefit dinner to be held at El Alteño Restaurant in downtown Watsonville on Thursday, June 1st.

Rock crab cake, celery root slaw, orange glaze, smoked paprika-chipotle tartar sauce
Charcuterie plate: Duck liver paté, assorted cured meats, local artisan cheese, sticky red onion marmalade, Marcona almonds, soft baguette


Local organic field greens, cherry tomatoes, blue cheese, candied pecans, balsamic vinaigrette
Baby hearts of romaine Caesar salad, buttery croutons, parmesan cheese


Pan seared salmon, Meyer lemon scented potato puree, fresh spring vegetables, champagne butter sauce
Local vegetable lasagna, tomato-basil sauce, shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
Roasted bone-in rack of pork, fresh corn polenta, spring vegetables, pork jus, apple chutney


Mini dessert sampler: Orange curd creme brulée, organic mini carrot cake, local fresh blackberry tart, mini chocolate mousse
Flourless chocolate torte, raspberry sauce, Chantilly cream
Fresh peach pie, custard sauce, salted caramel ice cream

We offer two seating times and sell 200 tickets, for dine-in or take-out.  The dinner includes your choice of salad and entrée. Appetizers, desserts, and beverages (including beer, wine, and cocktails) are available for purchase.  All food and gratuity proceeds benefit our food pantry and lunch programs, serving local families and individuals struggling with hunger.

We hope you will join us Thursday, June 1st for this year’s benefit dinner! Tickets (including salad and entrée) are $60 and are available online at
Buy Tickets

Follow Us @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:

"So proud of our Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez (center) and our kitchen team (including Cecilia and Eduardo, pictured here) for their professionalism and great work. We passed our environmental health inspection today with a commendation for excellent sanitation and organization."

"Thank you to Notre Dame AmeriCorps volunteer Christina Powell for organizing a group of students at HA Hyde Elementary of Watsonville to make decorations for our Easter celebration. They are still bringing color and cheer to our office."

"Happy spring! Our new native and drought tolerant garden is filled with blooms, as well as fresh herbs for our kitchen."

"Thank you Farmer Tom & Live Earth Farm team for the beautiful spring produce!"

Volunteer Update

This month, Leo Limas (left) and Raymond Razo, PVLF volunteers, joined the Center for Employment Training work experience program at PVLF. We are grateful to have their help five days a week.

Volunteer Spotlight
Job Training Partnership with CET

The Center for Employment Training is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
We are pleased to partner again this year with the Center for Employment Training (CET), Watsonville office, to provide work experience to local workers facing long term unemployment in agriculture and other professions. CET has grant funds to pay participants to work full time at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes for up to a year. Participants gain valuable work experience for their resumes and build skills in areas such as culinary arts, food safety and sanitation, food inventory management and distribution, customer service, and janitorial services and facilities maintenance. They also develop their "soft skills" that are so essential for success in the workplace, such as workplace communication, punctuality, teamwork, problem solving, active listening, time management, and conflict resolution.

We have six CET participants working in our programs. Gabriel, Maria, Cecilia, and Eduardo were featured in last month's e-newsletter. Leo and Raymond are pictured above. They were all recruited from our PVLF community of volunteers and program participants. Having their support in our food assistance programs Monday through Friday provides stability and continuity in our operations. They are also developing leadership skills by acting as lead volunteers and helping to train new volunteers. "The CET volunteers are a big help to the staff," says Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez. The program has been positive experience for the participants as well. As Cecilia Cervantes explains, "I started volunteering at PVLF after I was laid off from my job in local retail sales. Being able to work here every day and get paid has been a blessing."

This year, CET is commemorating their 50th year of service. Originating in San Jose, California, in 1967, CET began with the purpose of helping farm workers transition to jobs in the emerging high technology sector in the Silicon Valley by focusing on skill training, human development, and job placement. CET now operates training centers throughout the United States and has served over 200,000 individuals. 

To learn more about CET, you can visit them on the web.       

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
Pick-Up and Delivery of Food Donations
Tues / Thurs 8:00am-10:00am: Select produce from Second Harvest warehouse and unload at Loaves and Fishes
Tues 1:00pm-2:00pm: Receive and store Second Harvest delivery at Loaves and Fishes

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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