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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food."
- Hippocrates
We distribute over 350,000 pounds of food each year
through our food pantry and kitchen programs.
Half is fresh fruits and vegetables.

Photo: A donated Community Supported Agriculture produce share from long-time donor High Ground Organics.
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. Tickets are 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
Pantry volunteer Ana Luisa Rincon, pictured with a box of fresh produce from our pantry.

Healthy Food For All

At Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, our mission is to provide nutritious food to community members in need. We are not just fighting hunger, but also providing access to health-supporting foods. We recognize that the low-income population we serve faces many health challenges and is disproportionately impacted by diet-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, so we focus on providing high-quality foods that support good health.

Thanks to our partnerships with two local organic farms - High Ground Organics and Live Earth Farm - and Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, half of the food we provide through our food assistance programs is fresh produce. Our programs provide access to healthy, nutritious meals and wholesome groceries to thousands of local residents in need.

One lunch client, Tom (not his real name), who eats lunch with us five days a week, recently thanked our volunteers and staff for the healthy meal, saying, “This is the only place where I get salad and fresh fruit and vegetables.” A veteran who lives on a fixed income in a nearby single-room occupancy hotel, Tom is not able to purchase, store, and prepare nutritious, perishable foods. Through his regular participation in our program, he is able to enjoy fresh food and include more fiber, vitamins, and nutrients in his diet, supporting better health.
Along with acclaimed Bay Area chef Alice Waters, we believe that "good food is a right, not a privilege," that supports good health and strong communities. We are proud to provide meals and groceries that support our program participants in making health-supporting food choices. Thank you for joining us in our vision of a well-nourished Pajaro Valley community where all residents have access to healthy food. 
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 sponsor, donor, attendee, or volunteer. You can find information about event sponsorship levels and benefits or purchase tickets online. To donate an item, service, experience, or gift certificate for our auction or wine for our dinner service, please complete a response form or email Brooke at To volunteer, please email Sara at

Your generosity makes our work possible. Special thanks to the sponsors that have already committed their support for this year's event.

Richard & Mary Solari Charitable Trust

Charlotte Colavin
Bob & Beverly Montague

Kaiser Permanente
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Solari Mazry Family Fund
Paul & Marlyn Tashiro

Joann & Marc Godoy
Santa Cruz County Bank

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

MPress Digital / Printsmith Aptos

Partnerships Bring Health Services to PVLF

In addition to providing food assistance to those we serve, we also strive to connect our program participants to other needed services through referrals and on-site outreach partnerships. We are pleased to host two partners on a regular schedule to provide access to health and mental health services and screening.

Matt Nathanson, RN, and Georgina Ibarra from the County's Homeless Persons Health Project are on site two Tuesdays a month during lunch service to connect program participants to needed health and mental health services, provide medical screenings and case management, and facilitate doctor's appointments and access to needed prescription medications. These long-time service providers are trusted advisors that have assisted many PVLF clients over the years to access health care, shelter, and permanent housing.

Recently, Matt and Georgina coordinated a Hepatitis A vaccine clinic at PVLF. We thank them and the County' s Health and Outreach Services team (pictured below, with Georgina front center) for providing vaccinations and education to dozens of our diners, to help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.

We are also pleased to partner with the Dignity Health Dominican Hospital Mobile Wellness Clinic monthly to provide screening and referrals. Beatriz Walsh, RN and certified diabetes educator (pictured above), conducts blood sugar and blood pressure checks, educates clients about diabetes, and provides referrals to other medical providers as needed. She notes that high blood pressures are fairly uncommon among the population we serve, as many do physical labor and spend hours walking or bicycling for transportation. However, high blood sugar readings are common, and many are at risk of type 2 diabetes.

We thank the County and Dignity Health for partnering with us to promote better health among those we serve, and we extend special appreciation to Matt, Georgina, and Beatriz for their compassionate and dedicated service to our community.

Honorary and Memorial Gifts

In Honor
Trino Castro by Hilarie Lennan

In Memory
Robert Quist by Dianne McDonnell
Judith Capaldo by Roy Capaldo

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 some highlights from the past month:

"Thank you to Newman's Own Foundation for your generous support of Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes. Newman's Own Foundation working to nourish the common good by donating 100% of profits from Newman's Own food products to charitable organizations that seek to make the world a better place."

"Today a group of interns and employees from Driscoll's helped us serve lunch. We thank them for their volunteer service!"

"Thank you to the youth from Go Adventure for their service today at PVLF. They are youth from the Bay Area spending 3 weeks camping and doing service projects around Northern California."

"Thank you to Cal Giant Berries for including us as beneficiaries of their barbeque fundraiser! Their guests donated 75 meals to local people in need."

Volunteer Spotlight
Rozene Pieri Enloe

Rozene Pieri Enloe helps on the serving line.
Our July Volunteer of the Month is 19-year-old Cabrillo College Culinary student Rozene Pieri Enloe. She began volunteering weekly during the Spring 2017 semester and then selected PVLF as the site of her summer culinary internship. Her learning objectives are to gain an understanding of the management and operations of a non-profit food service organization and participate in large-scale daily food preparation and service. She has been working in the kitchen three days a week this summer, and has already contributed more than 200 hours this year to date.

Rozene has been a wonderful addition to our kitchen crew. AmeriCorps volunteer Sara Muñoz says, "Rozene brings a playful and joyous attitude when she's here. She is always joking around while staying on task and sharing her amazing culinary skills with us." Kitchen volunteer Ceilia Cervantes adds, "Working with Rozene is a blast because she has such a quirky sense of humor, and I enjoy learning from her." In addition to helping prepare and serve lunch, Rozene also helps launder our kitchen towels and aprons and brings donations to PVLF from the Cabrillo Culinary Department, when produce and other perishable foods are left over after events.

Although still in her teens, Rozene has been a PVLF supporter for years. She first volunteered at PVLF as a junior high student, when she and her family participated in our Thanksgiving meal service. When she was a high school student at Monte Vista Christian High School of Watsonville, she knitted hats and sold them at her parents' work places to raise money to contribute to PVLF. Her mother's then-employer, Driscoll's, provided a matching donation for the funds she raised as well. Rozene also helped with our annual Empty Bowls fundraiser dinner during her high school years.

"It is very nice working with Rozene," says Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez. Maria appreciates Rozene's sweet personality, positive attitude, and hard work. Rozene even draws fun illustrations on the daily menu board, to bring a smile to the faces of the kitchen team members. "We are so pleased to have Rozene as part of our team," adds Executive Director Brooke Sampson, "and it is wonderful to see how her contributions as a volunteer have evolved and expanded over the years. She is a great example of how local youth can contribute meaningfully to the success of our organization."

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

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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