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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved by the multiples of those with whom it is shared."
- Jesse Browner
Over 120 guests joined us for holiday tamales and pozole on a rainy December 23rd.
What's Inside
Make a Gift
Upcoming Events

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service - Monday, January 16th
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

Generous Donations Bring Holiday Cheer to PV Loaves & Fishes

While Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes benefits from the generosity of our community year-round, our supporters go above and beyond during the holidays to bring the joy of the season to our neighbors in need. We would like to acknowledge some of these special gifts that truly made it a happier holiday for those we serve.

Many thanks to:

Toys for Tots  - Coordinator Delilah Valadez, all her elves, and all those who donated toys - for providing holidays gifts for 671 children from our pantry client families;

Holy Eucharist Catholic Church parishioners for donating over 60 presents for children served by our pantry and lunch programs;

West Marine, for donating several hundred pieces of new men's clothing for our lunch program clients;

S. Martinelli & Co. for donating dozens of cases of sparkling cider and juice for our holiday celebration;

The students of CEIBA College Preparatory Academy for volunteering in support of our holiday efforts and making holiday cards for our lunch program clients;

The anonymous donors who provided 70 pounds of pork for our Christmas tamales and funds to purchase additional ingredients for our holiday meal;

Local businesses and organizations - such as Lakeside Organic Gardens, Dobler & Sons LLC, the Cal Giant Foundation, the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, NALC Branch 857, the Sons of Italy of Watsonville, Holy Eucharist Catholic Church, La Selva Beach Community Church, St. Patrick's Church, and the El Pajaro Institute YLI - for including us in their holiday giving;

And all the volunteers who gave their time and all the donors who provided monetary support.

One elderly lunch client told us, "The best part of my holiday was the lunch here and the new shirts I received. Those tamales were delicious!" We thank you for helping us to brighten the holiday season for all those we serve, from children to the elderly. Your generous support reminds them that even during tough times, there are many people in our community who care about them.

Chef Maria greets our guests at our Christmas holiday lunch.
Feed Our Community


Special thanks to all the volunteers that helped us pack and transport gifts, distribute toys, poultry, and new clothing to our clients, and serve our holiday meal.

Donor Spotlight:
Lakeside Organic Gardens

Dick and Marisela Peixoto, owners of Lakeside Organic Gardens, are incredibly generous supporters of many local non-profit organizations, and Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes is fortunate to be one of them! Their gifts help sustain our operation, so that we can provide food assistance to community members in need throughout the year. We also receive thousands of pounds of delicious Lakeside Organic produce for our kitchen and pantry, directly from the farm and through our food acquisitions at Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Peixotos recently visited PVLF to see our facility upgrades and bring us their holiday gift. We thank them for their commitment to feeding the hungry. Through their work and their philanthropy, they are creating a healthier Pajaro Valley for all.

Why I Volunteer at PV Loaves & Fishes

As a small organization with a big mission, we rely on volunteers to help us in our food pantry and lunch programs every day. Each volunteer has his or her own motivation for assisting us in our mission. A young man named Hector who recently volunteered at Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes shared his with us.  

"One of the reasons I wanted to volunteer here was my dad was homeless in Watsonville for two years when he was struggling with drug addiction. Loaves & Fishes and Salvation Army were the organizations that helped him. Now, he's clean and doing well. There are so many people in our city who need help. I wanted to give back."
Our volunteers give over 30,000 hours of service a year, enabling us to provide crucial support to local residents experiencing hunger, homelessness, and other crises. We thank them for helping us care for our neighbors during their time of need so that they, like Hector's dad, can have another chance for a healthier, happier life.

Honorary and Memorial Gifts

In Memory
Simona Ortega by Rudy Ortega
Norma Pope, Leila & Carl Salmi by Greta & Joel Salmi
Peter Ciccarelli by Billie Trawle
Adriana Kell by Karen Greenleaf

In Honor
Jose Ortega by Rudy Ortega
Lin Colavin by Marsha Zeitlin
Corrine Flanagan by Mary Maciel
J.M. Brown by Gerald Arao
Brad Hubbard by the Watsonville Junior Wildcatz
Bob Montague by Michael Archer and Nancy Montague-Archer

PVLF Welcomes Jeanette Arias

Pantry Coordinator Jeanette Arias, with interim Pantry Coordinator Eric Gonzalez

Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes is pleased to introduce our new Pantry Coordinator, Jeanette Arias. Jeanette joined our team at the end of November and spent her first week training with our interim Pantry Coordinator, Eric Gonzalez, and assisting with client registration for our holiday food and toy distributions.

Jeanette comes to us with work experience in food service and customer service. Most recently, she staffed the front desk at the YMCA in Salinas. She also has experience volunteering in her church's local food ministry, Pan de Vida.

Joining us at our busiest time of year - we provide twice as many pantry visits in the winter as in the summer - Jeanette jumped right into her role, bringing energy and compassion to her work with our pantry clients. She has a heart for service and manages the bustling pantry operation with skill and grace. We are so glad to have Jeanette on our team!

Volunteer Spotlight
Enrique Avalos

Enrique Avalos cuts portions of meatloaf for our lunch service.
Enrique Avalos joined the Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes team in mid-November, just in time to help us during our busy winter season. He assists in our pantry and kitchen programs 25 hours a week, as a participant in the Sueños youth employment training program.

The staff and volunteers enjoy working with Enrique because of his work ethic, positive attitude, and dedication. He takes initiative - identifying tasks that need to be done and fellow volunteers who need assistance - and pitches in without being asked. He also stays beyond his scheduled shift when he sees a need for his help.

Enrique helped us prepare for our Thanksgiving and Christmas programs and distribute poultry, toys, and clothes to those we serve. He especially enjoyed participating in our collaboration with Toys for Tots to provide Christmas gifts to 671 children from families served through our pantry. “It was cool,” Enrique reflected on his interaction with a very grateful client and her 5-year old daughter, “seeing the little girl get her favorite toy, and her mom’s reaction.”

During his time at Loaves and Fishes, Enrique has also made connections with some of the seniors involved with our organization. He and fellow volunteer Angeli Jimenez enjoy chatting about music when they work alongside each other in the kitchen. She has introduced him to blues music, and they have bonded over a shared appreciation of rock. Enrique also likes assisting long-time volunteer Bob Montague in bringing thousands of pounds of food to Loaves and Fishes every week, for use in the pantry and kitchen programs. "Bob does so much," Enrique said, "I told him, 'I'm here to help you.'"

Executive Director Brooke Sampson observes, “Loaves and Fishes is a place where community members have a chance to connect with people they might not usually meet in their daily lives. It has been wonderful to watch Enrique connect with people of all ages and forge connections across generations.”

Enrique, 19 years, is currently studying at Cabrillo College. He plans to transfer to a 4-year university and pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. We are grateful to have him working with us and wish him all the best as he works toward his academic and career goals.

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
Second Harvest Pick-Up and Delivery
Tues / Thurs 8:00am-9:00am: Select produce from warehouse and unload
Tues / Thurs 1:00pm-2:00pm: Receive delivery at Loaves and Fishes

Contact us for more info or to sign up to volunteer!
Copyright © 2016 Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, All rights reserved.

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