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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger."
- Buzz Aldrin
We serve over 2,600 children during the course of the year through our food pantry and kitchen. Child participation in our lunch program increases in the summer when school is out.
What's Inside
Make a Gift
Upcoming Events

  • SAVE THE DATE 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
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
A mother and her son enjoy a healthy lunch at PVLF.

Healthy Kids, Bright Future

Hunger disproportionately impacts households with children. More than 13 million children in the United States live in households that struggle with hunger and food insecurity, or uncertain access to enough nutritious food for a healthy life. Here in Santa Cruz County, 35% of low-income households struggle with food insecurity, and 55% of school-age children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.

When children suffer from hunger, their growth and development is compromised. They are more likely to develop mental and physical health problems and have poorer educational outcomes. Investing in child nutrition is an investment in their health, academic achievement, and well-being today and our future citizenry and workforce.

At PVLF, we serve nearly 2,600 children through our food pantry year-round. Their parents receive fresh produce, bread, and non-perishable staple foods twice a month to prepare meals at home.

During the summer, we also serve children in our lunch program. 75% of Pajaro Valley Unified School District students participate in the free and reduced lunch program. When school is out and kids are not eating lunch at school, low-income families stretch their food budgets by having their midday meal with us. The nutrition these children receive from our programs supports their growth and development, so they can be healthy and succeed in school.
Our work providing healthy meals and groceries to local children and adults in need is only possible through the support of donors like you. Thank you for joining us in our vision of a well-nourished Pajaro Valley community where people of all ages have access to healthy food.

Feed Our Community

Attendees Savor Fabulous Meal at
El Alteño Benefit Dinner

Chef Jesse Plasencia (pictured above) - Executive Chef of The Pacheco Club in Monterey, California and past Board member of Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes - and his team of volunteers, including Chef Tene Shake and Chef Patrick Sigler, prepared a sumptuous menu for the benefit dinner held at El Alteño Restaurant in downtown Watsonville on Thursday, June 1st.

Food and wine donations were generously provided by Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets, Monterey Fish Company, and Russo's Wholesale Produce.

We thank all the volunteers - including staff of the City of Watsonville and the County of Santa Cruz and volunteers from PVLF - for their support of this fun event. The benefit dinner raised over $7,500 to support our food pantry and kitchen programs.

We express our sincere appreciation to Chef Jesse Plasencia and his wife Marcela Tavantzis for hosting this wonderful evening, and we thank all those who attended.

Rabobank Makes First Time Grant to PVLF

Rabobank recently made a grant of operating support to our food pantry and kitchen through their Community Development Grant Program. Rabobank, N.A. provided $2,500 and their local Community Leadership Group added $1,000 for a total of $3,500.

Four Rabobank representatives visited PVLF at the end of May to tour our facility and present us with a "giant check." We thank Rabobank N.A. and the staff of the local Watsonville branch for their generous support!   


Honorary and Memorial Gifts

In Honor
Carmen Gagne by Noreen Norris
Maria Gonzalez by Stanley & Maria Bispo

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 is a highlight from the past month:

"Thank you to the students and teacher advisors of the CEIBA service club for all their help in our food pantry and lunch programs this semester! Pictured here are Teresita and Alexia."

Volunteer Spotlight
Gabriel Gonzalez

Gabriel Gonzalez considers PVLF "the best place to volunteer in Watsonville."
Our June Volunteer of the Month is local resident Gabriel Gonzalez. He first began volunteering at PVLF in spring of 2016 and increased his service to about three times a week beginning early this year. He has already given more than 200 hours of service to date in 2017.

For Gabriel, service at PVLF is an opportunity to give back to his hometown community. He grew up just a few blocks from our location on Second Street. "We have a wonderful community, but there are areas of need," Gabriel says. "Loaves and Fishes does an outstanding job meeting the basic needs in our community."

Gabriel assists us in setting up our dining area prior to meal service, serving lunch, and doing dishes. But what really sets him apart is his rapport with our clientele. "Gabriel is great with our clients," says Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez. A fluently bilingual Watsonville native who attended local schools, Gabriel knows many of our lunch guests by name and enjoys greeting and conversing with them. He helps us create a welcoming atmosphere of hospitality, treating each guest with compassion, respect, and kindness.

Gabriel, who is himself in recovery, likes supporting others in recovery. He likes being a part of our mission and enjoys the time he spends with us. "I love coming here," he says. Executive Director Brooke Sampson reflects that this mutual support and connection between volunteers and guests is one of the things that makes PVLF such a special place. "Being a lifelong Watsonville resident myself, I also appreciate the opportunity to serve the community that I love. Having volunteers like Gabriel, with deep roots in the Pajaro Valley, creates a real sense of community and belonging at PVLF."

Volunteer Opportunities

Turn your compassion into action.
Take a look at our opportunities and find where you can help!

AmeriCorps Service
Interested in giving a year of full-time service at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes?
AmeriCorps service is a great resume-builder, pays a stipend, and offers an education award upon completion of the term of service. Gain work experience and job skills in a fun, fast-paced, and rewarding work environment. Healthy lunch included! Candidates must be bilingual and have good people skills. The service term runs from September through July.
Interested? Contact Brooke for more information and an application.

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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