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Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes

"What good shall I do this day?"
- Benjamin Franklin
Center for Employment Training job trainee Leo Limas and his mom Katie Limas volunteer together at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes.
What's Inside
Make a Gift
Upcoming Events

  • JOIN US! BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE Chef Jesse Plasencia's Pop-Up Dinner to Benefit PVLF at El Alteño Restaurant in downtown Watsonville - Thursday, June 1st Tickets are $60 each and are available at
  • 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
Volunteers Angeli Jimenez (left) and Lupita Mock enjoy each other's company while helping Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez prepare and serve lunch.

Having Fun While Doing Good

Many of our volunteers get involved in our work because they want to give back to the community and to do good for others. And while they find their service fulfilling, they also enjoy the people they meet and the fun we have while working together. These connections with staff and fellow volunteers are a key reason they remain as part of our volunteer team.

While the work that we do is physically, and at times emotionally, demanding, the support and camaraderie among the volunteers and staff keeps us going. "This is one of the best places anybody could work. I wish people were this nice, friendly, and fun everywhere," says volunteer Angeli Jimenez. Angeli and her neighbor Raymond Razo both volunteer at PVLF. They cite the teamwork among the volunteers and staff as the quality that makes PVLF and our programs really special.

We recently said goodbye to one of our most dedicated pantry volunteers, Geri McGillicuddy (pictured below with Pantry Coordinator Jeanette Arias). Geri, a retired visiting nurse, was inspired to volunteer at PVLF by her late friend Tom O'Brien, past Board President of PVLF. She assisted in our pantry once a week for three years, helping with client intake and preparing bags of food for distribution.

"I've cooked a lot over the years - for my husband and our four children - so I knew I didn't want to work in the kitchen," Geri says. "I've enjoyed working in the pantry, meeting the people we serve, and learning the Spanish words for all the fruits and vegetables we distribute." Although Geri will no longer be volunteering every Tuesday, as the physical aspects of pantry work are getting to be a bit too challenging, she promised on her last day that she would stop by now and then to visit her friends on Second Street.

Whether you are a volunteer, donor, or supporter who helps us in other ways, we thank you for being a part of this caring community of people that makes our work possible. The wonderful people we get to know make this work extra rewarding!

If you would like to get more involved in our work, please contact our AmeriCorps volunteer Sara at 831-319-4571 or


Pantry Coordinator Jeanette Arias and volunteer Geri McGillicuddy, in the PVLF pantry. 
Feed Our Community

Chef Jesse Plasencia to Host
El Alteño Benefit Dinner on June 1st

Chef Jesse Plasencia (pictured below) - Executive Chef of The Pacheco Club in Monterey, California and past Board member of Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes - has a sumptuous menu planned for the benefit dinner to be held at El Alteño Restaurant in downtown Watsonville on Thursday, June 1st.

Rock crab cake, celery root slaw, orange glaze, smoked paprika-chipotle tartar sauce
Charcuterie plate: Duck liver paté, assorted cured meats, local artisan cheese, sticky red onion marmalade, Marcona almonds, soft baguette


Local organic field greens, cherry tomatoes, blue cheese, candied pecans, balsamic vinaigrette
Baby hearts of romaine Caesar salad, buttery croutons, parmesan cheese


Pan seared salmon, Meyer lemon scented potato puree, fresh spring vegetables, champagne butter sauce
Local vegetable lasagna, tomato-basil sauce, shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
Roasted bone-in rack of pork, fresh corn polenta, spring vegetables, pork jus, apple chutney


Mini dessert sampler: Orange curd creme brulée, organic mini carrot cake, local fresh blackberry tart, mini chocolate mousse
Flourless chocolate torte, raspberry sauce, Chantilly cream
Fresh peach pie, custard sauce, salted caramel ice cream

We offer two seating times and sell 200 tickets, for dine-in or take-out.  The dinner includes your choice of salad and entrée. Appetizers, desserts, and beverages (including beer, wine, and cocktails) are available for purchase at the dinner.  All food and gratuity proceeds benefit our food pantry and lunch programs, serving local families and individuals struggling with hunger.

We hope you will join us Thursday, June 1st for this year’s benefit dinner! Tickets (including salad and entrée) are $60 and are available online at

Buy Tickets

Community Reception, May 11th
Appreciating Our Volunteers and Donors

Over 100 volunteers and donors joined us for a fun evening of appetizers, drinks, dessert, and fellowship at our home on Second Street.

We thank our event supporters for making this a great event:
Grocery Outlet Watsonville, S. Martinelli & Co., and Tied House Café & Brewery / Hermitage Brewing Company for donating beverages,
the Ballesteros Catering Company, Driscoll’s, and Ella’s at the Airport for providing food,
De Colores Flores for making fresh floral arrangements,
Roger Vail for creating a photo slideshow and taking event photos, and
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County for lending us audio equipment.
Special thanks to Maura Leonor, Max Simecek, and Angeli Jimenez for sharing about their experiences volunteering at PVLF.
We hope you will be able to join us next spring for this appreciation event for our wonderful supporters!


Volunteer Feedback

Sara Muñoz, our AmeriCorps volunteer, is currently conducting interviews with members of our volunteer team to gather feedback about our volunteer program, so we can continue to grow and improve as an organization. 

These conversations are providing insights into our volunteers' experiences at PVLF. She wrote this account of one of her recent conversations, which reveals, in one volunteer's experience, how serving at PVLF can change one's perspective.

I interviewed one of our volunteers. I asked him what his expectations were, prior to volunteering, and where they stand now. He talked to me about the common misconception that Loaves and Fishes is a soup kitchen for the homeless, when it is clearly so much more than that.

Outsiders often have these stereotypes about our “homeless clients being where they are, and behaving inappropriate due to drugs and other personal choices”. The volunteer said, “when you look over the fence and get a closer look, it’s not like that at all. These people come from all different walks of life.”

About one third of our clients are homeless, and many of our clients are agricultural farm workers. Our space also serves many families, students, and even pets. You will see many clients who are living with mental illnesses of different severities. You get to know them, and you realize you can’t judge them, they endure through so much as it is.

The volunteer went on to say that he could be out on this warm day having a few beers, but he chooses to be here. For him, and many others, Loaves and Fishes is a sanctuary. He says it’s a space where the volunteers and staff are well trained with the skills they need to complete the tasks, but they are also well equipped with compassion and patience. He says, “You can’t be trained on compassion.”

These volunteers have stuck around because they feel their time here is rewarding on its own. They understand that the people we serve are in need, and they are endlessly grateful. They can see, first hand, the impact their work is having on the community that is often misunderstood and forgotten.

If you would like to share feedback about your volunteer experience at PVLF, please contact Sara at 831-319-4571 or

Honorary and Memorial Gifts

In Memory
Peter Ciccarelli by Billie Trawle

In Honor
Louis Jemison by Tom & Joanne Young

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 a few highlights from the past month:

"Thank you to Brad Caras and Monica Bailey for bringing us a donation of 10 bags of groceries and 6 dozen bagels! They redeemed all their Safeway Monopoly coupons for food for our pantry and kitchen. They plan to do the same next year."

"Chef Maria and her team made pork chile verde with spinach and nopales, Spanish rice, and mixed green salad for lunch today. La Rosa Bakery donated corn tortillas to accompany the delicious meal."

"Thank you to our volunteer Rozene Enloe for delivering an end-of-the-semester donation from the Cabrillo College Culinary Department! Our Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez will incorporate these wonderful ingredients into the lunches we serve to those in need."

Volunteer Spotlight
Watsonville High School students
Nancy Corona, Bryan Cardenas, and Wendy Martinez

Nancy, Bryan, and Wendy volunteer together at PVLF on Wednesday afternoons.
We are happy to recognize three friends and Watsonville High School students - Nancy Corona, Bryan Cardenas, and Wendy Martinez - as our volunteers of the month. The sophomores chose Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes as the site for completing their school's community service requirement. They volunteer together on Wednesday afternoons, when WHS has early dismissal, and during school breaks.

Wendy and Nancy started volunteering during the holidays. They assist Kitchen Manager Maria Gonzalez in the kitchen, washing and chopping vegetables, cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen, and helping to prep food for the following day's meal service. They also volunteered for our Christmas celebration. They each hand-wrote dozens of holiday cards, so that each of our guests could receive a card containing heartfelt holiday greetings.

This spring, Wendy and Nancy introduced their friend Bryan to PVLF. Now the three of them volunteer together, keeping each other company as they work in the kitchen and pantry. "They are great, reliable volunteers," says Sara Muñoz, our AmeriCorps Volunteer. "They bring positive energy to Loaves and Fishes. They like to tease each other and have fun, while also getting the job done well and correctly."

We thank Nancy, Bryan, and Wendy for their service to our organization. It is a pleasure to work with them!

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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