Big Donation Helps Offset Food Pantry's Surging Needs
The number of people needing assistance in Santa Clarita has skyrocketed.
Even though the Santa Clarita Valley has seemed to navigate the recent economic turmoil better than many other communities, the negative impacts have still reached a large segment of the population. For evidence of this trend, look no further than the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry, which has nearly doubled the number of people it serves since 2007.
On top of the surging demand, the Food Pantry has also shared other non-profit's woes in the fundraising department, as some benefactors have been forced to tighten their purse strings. However, one big company ducked the status quo recently with a big donation that will go a long way toward keeping Santa Clarita Valley residents fed.
Through a grant process, Wells Fargo Bank made a $10,000 contribution to the Food Pantry.
"$10,000 is a major donation," said Belinda Crawford, Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry's executive director. "We'll be able to purchase the amount of milk for our milk money program for three full months."
The milk money program distributes one gallon of milk for each child serviced by the food pantry, per month. The program is aimed to provide healthy food items to local children.
"According to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Feeding America, we are the only Food Pantry in the entire United States that they know of, that's made this commitment to the health of the children of our clients," Crawford said.
The donation comes at a time when the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry has seen its clientele nearly double. Crawford says that the number of people who came to the Food Pantry for help in 2008 was 60% higher than 2007. Last year the number of clients jumped another 30%, resulting in 43,000 total visits to the Food Pantry.
"Last year, we distributed food on a regular basis to over 6,500 unduplicated individuals," said Crawford. "So our front lobby is very full, and our volunteers are working harder than they've ever worked before.
Crawford says that she's grateful that the Wells Fargo and Wachovia Foundation looks to their service areas when it comes time to donate.
"The fact that they have not cut their amount of giving over the past several years...they continue to be very supportive of the communities they serve."
"Wells Fargo continues to hear from our nonprofit partners about the soaring demand for food while donations decline," says Melissa White, Wells Fargo Santa Clarita Valley district manager. "When we learned about the inverse proportion of soaring demand and reduced giving, we knew that we needed to support the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. We hope to encourage other corporate leaders to donate time and money to regional food banks like the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry to see them through this on-going crisis."
There have been several contributing factors to the recent lack of funding for organizations like the Food Pantry. The economic climate has cut both private and public contributions, and last month's Haitian earthquake prompted many donations to be diverted to the island nation.
"At a time when state budget cuts and a national economic downturn have significantly increased demand for the SCV Food Pantry's supportive services, financial support from Wells Fargo and other community sources provides a lifeline to our clients," said Crawford. "With this support, our organization will be able to respond to increased community need and serve more individuals and families throughout the Santa Clarita Valley."
For more information about how to donate to the SCV Food Pantry, visit http://www.scvfoodpantry.org.
Photo at top (L to R): Volunteer Lois Futrell, Executive Director Belinda Crawford, Wells Fargo Community Bank district manager for the Santa Clarita Valley Melissa White, volunteer Barbara Gilman, and volunteer Eileen Hamos.