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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others."
- Mahatma Gandhi
Over 400 volunteers assist in our food pantry and kitchen programs each year, giving 25,000 hours of service.
Photo: Volunteers Lin Colavin and Gabriel Gonzalez help serve lunch.
What's Inside
Make a Gift
Upcoming Events

  • JOIN US! Our 14th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Auction will be held Saturday, September 9th from 5-9pm at the Lagoon House at Pajaro Dunes Shorebirds in Watsonville. A limited number of tickets are still available online.
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
PVLF AmeriCorps volunteer Sara Muñoz clears a client's tray.

Finding Ourselves Through Service to Others

Service at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes provides a meaningful opportunity to connect with fellow community members. Whatever preconceptions someone may have about "the hungry" of our community, they are challenged and changed as a result of direct interactions with the diverse individuals that participate in our food assistance programs. When we connect with individuals with lives different than ours - the man with intellectual disabilities who has been on his own since his mother passed away in his teenage years, the recovering stroke victim living in a residential hotel, the recently housed cancer-survivor veteran, the retired farm worker, the grandmother living on a fixed income - our hearts are opened, our minds are changed, and our views are transformed.

For some of us, service at PVLF touches our hearts deeply and becomes an integral part of our lives. We were blessed with an extraordinary AmeriCorps volunteer, Sara Muñoz, this year. She recently completed her term of service and open-heartedly shared with us the impact that volunteering at PVLF has had on her life. With her permission, we share Sara's story here. Her experience truly illustrates Gandhi's observation that "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others."

Friends at Loaves and Fishes -

Thank you for all the wonderful memories and experiences you've shared with me. I've had an amazing time here working towards bettering our community. It sounds 'cheezy' but this place has quite literally changed my life, and I'm so grateful!

I got to know Loaves & Fishes a number of years ago during a much more challenging point in my life, when I was entirely on my own and lacking basic necessities, among other things. I was wrongly nervous to come by for lunch when it was suggested to me. I left here so impressed by the warm atmosphere, delicious food, and the amount of respect that I received. I knew I wanted to get involved at a better time.

The chance came several months later, in the form of a work exchange pantry volunteer opportunity, and then again through an AmeriCorps volunteer services position. With the volunteer stipend income from these programs, I was able to stabilize myself, and with the incredible support of everyone I've been able to make a HUGE improvement in my on-going social anxieties, and become generally more confident, comfortable, social, and happy. I know that I am not the most talkative person here, but I've gladly spoken here more than I did throughout my past school and work years combined.

I really enjoyed the many different and awesome people I've worked with, but I also strongly feel a connection to the wonderful people we serve. I feel I can relate to them. In them I see myself, my dad, my agriculture-working aunts, uncles, and cousins, generations of my family, and my goofy 'van-livin' friends.

Here we lovingly provide food, but we also provide judgment-free kindness, friendship, support, and referrals in a warm, welcoming setting. A place like this is so hard to come by, especially when you identify yourself with a marginalized or oppressed group. Being a part of this organization has been a beautiful experience that brought me here with a smile every weekday. Thank you all for everything you did to make this experience great!

- Sara
Feed Our Community

Event Helps Fill Empty Bowls Year-round

On September 9th, we will host our 14th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Auction at the Lagoon House at Pajaro Dunes Shorebirds. This event raises 25% of our annual operating budget, sustaining our food pantry and kitchen throughout the year. 

We invite you to join us in the fight against hunger in our community by supporting our event as a volunteer. We are still in need of volunteers on the evening of the event, as well as set-up and clean-up shifts on September 8th and 10th. To volunteer, please email us at

A limited number of event tickets are still available to purchase online

Your generosity makes our work possible. Special thanks to our sponsors for their support for this year's event.

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

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

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

Biggam Christensen Minsloff, Santa Cruz County Public Defenders
Glenn & Adele Eberhart
Adela Feran
Joann & Marc Godoy
Santa Cruz County Bank
Marsha Zeitlin

Pajaro Dunes Shorebirds
Pajaro Dunes Company
Monterey Bay Caterers, Ken Schwan

MPress Digital / Printsmith Aptos

Honorary and Memorial Gifts

In Memory
Tom O'Brien by Sue & Mike Brandy
Judith Capaldo by Roy Capaldo
Esperanza Ortega Shingler by Rudy Ortega
Abram Ceballos by Lino Ceballos Jr.

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.

Follow Us @pvloavesandfishes

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

Here are a couple highlights from the past month:

"Many thanks to our amazing AmeriCorps volunteer, Sara Muñoz, for her service to our organization this year! In addition to serving our community with kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion, she also shared her artistic talents with us. This is the illustration she drew on her goodbye card to us."

"The edible plants in our front yard garden are thriving! Thanks to Joann Godoy for installing and caring for this lush and beautiful landscaping."


Volunteer Spotlight
Todd Kinion

Todd Kinion brings farm fresh produce to PVLF.
Our August Volunteer of the Month is Watsonville resident Todd Kinion. He connected with our organization when he was looking for a way to be of service to the community during the Lenten season that precedes the Easter holiday. He has continued his service, now volunteering three mornings a week to transport healthy produce to PVLF from Live Earth Farm and Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County.

Todd has been a great addition to our team, enabling us to bring additional fresh produce to our pantry and kitchen. He picks up hundreds of pounds of organic produce on Mondays at local donor Live Earth Farm, delivers and stores it at PVLF, and then returns their reusable plastic crates to the farm in rural Watsonville.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Todd accompanies long-time volunteer Bob Montague to Second Harvest Food Bank to select and box up donated produce and other foods to use in our food assistance programs. Todd and Bob then return to PVLF to unload and stock the items.

Keeping our coolers and shelves filled with nutritious foods to distribute to our neighbors in need is a big, year-round task. Bob says, "I really appreciate Todd's help. He's reliable and takes initiative. He goes above and beyond."

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Todd for his dedication to our mission. Our work would not be possible without the help of committed volunteers like him, who help us get healthy, surplus foods into the hands of those in need.

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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