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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"Home is where you feel at home and are treated well."
                                                  - the Dalai Lama
The City of Watsonville honored Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes as the Commercial Building of the Month for August.
What's Inside
Make a Gift
Wish List

  • Kitchen & Pantry Volunteers
  • Laundry Volunteer
  • Needed Foods:
    - Frozen Ground Beef
    - Peanut Butter
    - Canned Chili
    - Canned Soups

Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes Renovation Garners Local Recognition

The City of Watsonville Beautification committee has selected Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes as the Commercial Building of the Month for August. The committee was impressed with the remarkable transformation of the building over the past several months.

Beautification Committee member JoMarie Lake grew up in the 2nd Street neighborhood and was delighted to see the renovation project take place. “I come around the corner every day and saw them working on the house. The transformation is just great. They did a beautiful job, and I love the colors,” she says.

The lovely front yard landscaping by Joann Godoy, Loaves & Fishes Board member, has become well established over the summer. The drought-tolerant flowers and citrus trees now greet all our visitors and passersby with cheerful color.

Many thanks to all the generous donors, construction crew members, and tradespeople who made this transformation possible!
Our front yard is blooming with color this summer, thanks to landscape volunteers Joann Godoy and Corrine Flanagan.

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

As a lifelong Watsonville resident, I have always had an appreciation for the service our organization provides to our community, since our founding in 1989. The nutritious meals we serve and the bags of healthy groceries we provide are a crucial safety net that sustains local residents through seasonal unemployment, job loss, family crises, and periods of homelessness.

I first joined Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes as Executive Director in July 2006 because I was deeply impressed not only with what the organization does for the community, but how it does it. There is a warm, welcoming atmosphere that distinguishes Loaves and Fishes among local service providers. Our volunteers and staff serve our clients in a caring manner that honors the dignity of each individual.

While the humble outward appearance of our agency’s home at 150 2nd Street underwent a dramatic transformation this year, including much-needed facility upgrades, the heart of our organization remains the same as ever. It is the team of dedicated volunteers and staff that makes Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes such a special place. A place where all community members are welcomed, accepted, and nourished - a place that feels like home.

After volunteering in the kitchen with our wonderful Kitchen Manager / Chef Maria Gonzalez for the past year and a half, I was pleased to have the opportunity to rejoin the staff and return to the position of Executive Director the first of this month. It is an honor to work with this team and all our supporters to provide these essential services to my hometown community. Thank you for your support.

Brooke Sampson

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

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. Our theme this year, “A Celebration of Abundance,” will celebrate the generosity of our donors, volunteers, and supporters that makes our work possible, as well as the remarkable transformation of our home at 150 2nd Street.

The dinner and auction will be held Saturday, September 10th from 5 to 9 pm. Pajaro Dunes Company and Pajaro Dunes North Association, our generous facilities sponsors, provide the beautiful location for this event at the Lagoon House at Pajaro Dunes Shorebirds. Each guest will select a beautiful, one-of-a-kind bowl created by a local artist especially for our event.

Attendees will enjoy live bluegrass music from the Black Eyed Susies, local beer and wine, gourmet appetizers, authentic Mexican cuisine, and scrumptious dessert. The menu for the evening will be prepared by Loaves and Fishes chef Maria Gonzalez and volunteer chefs Patrick Sigler and Jesse Plasencia, with ingredients generously donated by Lakeside Organic Gardens, Watsonville Coast Produce, High Ground Organics, Sumano’s Bakery, La Rosa Tortilla Factory, Dobler and Sons, V+M Farms, and Whole Foods Santa Cruz. The event will feature live and silent auctions, as well as a raffle.
Join us for a delightful evening of fine food and drink in great company, and help nourish our neighbors in need.


Thank you to our event, facility, and dinner sponsors!

Charlotte Colavin
Enrique Mendoza, Santa Fe Mercados
Richard & Mary Solari Charitable Trust
Lin Colavin
Dobler & Sons
Louis Jemison & Janice Manabe
Bob & Bev Montague
Wells Fargo Bank
Bank of America
Glenn & Adele Eberhart
Kaiser Permanente
S. Martinelli & Co.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Solari Mazry Family Fund
Paul & Marilyn Tashiro
Santa Cruz County Bank
Seascape Golf Club
Watsonville Film Festival
Facilities Sponsors
Monterey Bay Caterers, Ken Schwan
Pajaro Dunes North Association
Pajaro Dunes Company
Graphic Design
Miller Maxfield, Inc.
Mpress Digital / Printsmith Aptos

In-kind Dinner and Beverage Sponsors
Dobler and Sons
High Ground Organics
La Rosa Tortilla Factory
Lakeside Organic Gardens
Sumano’s Bakery
Carol Vail, V+M Farms
Watsonville Coast Produce
Whole Foods Santa Cruz
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery
Grocery Outlet
Ralph Maltese
Tied House / Hermitage Brewing, San Jose
Windy Oaks Winery


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

Marcela Dueñas Cardenas and Yetnaletsy Gonzalez
Every day for the past two months, the PVLF kitchen has been lucky to work with two new full-time volunteers who have given their community wonderfully dependable help. Marcela Dueñas Cardenas and Yetnaletsy Gonazalez both began volunteering in the kitchen this summer to make good use of their time off from school and work. They arrive early in the morning to assist Kitchen Manager Maria with the day’s earliest tasks. Their tremendous reliability has helped them become great leaders to all kitchen volunteers, making the PVLF lunch program as successful as possible!

Marcela serves up salsa during lunchtime to top off over 100 meals

Marcela first heard about PVLF in her ESL class at the Watsonville Adult School, and she seized the opportunity to help her community while practicing new language skills. She has a humble attitude and strong work ethic, and her friendly personality contributes to a fun kitchen atmosphere for all. Marcela says that one of her favorite things about volunteering at PVLF is spending afternoons with others in the kitchen chopping vegetables for the next day’s lunch!

Yetnaletsy never lets large kitchen pots intimidate her! 

Yetnaletsy originally came to PVLF this summer to complete her community service graduation requirement for Watsonville High School, but has since surpassed the minimum number of hours by more than 100 hours! She closely assists the Kitchen Manager by making trips to La Rosa Market to pick up donations of ice and leading large kitchen projects with the rest of the kitchen crew. Although Yetnaletsy is now back at Watsonville High School to begin her Sophomore year, she looks forward to returning to help serve lunch during the holidays, which she has says is the most fulfilling part of her volunteer work!

Marcela's and Yetnaletsy’s willingness to help in the kitchen each day from morning until afternoon have made it possible for the entire kitchen team to become strong. These two demonstrate how volunteers truly are the backbone of PVLF, and we thank them for the time they've generously given to feed their community with such open hearts!

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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