Meeting the Need:
Pantry Visits and Lunches Served, 2007-16
Since 1989, Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes has served local community members struggling with hunger, providing bags of groceries and hot meals every Monday through Friday. In the past ten years, we saw pantry visits more than double at the peak of the recession, while the number of lunches served annually increased by an additional almost 12,000 meals. We are just beginning to see the impact of increased employment in the Pajaro Valley - a leveling off in the need for food assistance.
While we have always kept the doors open and served all those seeking aid, there were times when we did not have the resources to provide as much food as we would have liked. At the height of the recession, due to skyrocketing food costs, pantry program clients residing outside our designated Pajaro Valley service area were limited to one pantry visit per month. (Note: There has never been a limit on participation in the lunch program.) Effective January 1st, we reinstated our policy of two pantry visits per month for all pantry client households. This past year, we also partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County to source USDA commodity foods free of charge for distribution through our pantry, allowing us to provide food for 12 additional meals during each pantry visit for a family of four.
We are focusing on quality as well as quantity. We are purchasing protein foods such as eggs and meat to increase the nutritional quality of our lunches, thanks to generous donations received during our annual Empty Bowls event auction. We are also able to pick up an additional 200 - 300 pounds of organic produce every week from long-time donor Live Earth Farm, now that we have a new agency pick-up truck.
Thank you all for your support of our work. Your gifts of food and funds help us to meet the continued need for our services.