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Food donations sought for Help The Children

Posted: October 8, 2009 6:58 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
As the economy continues to struggle, more and more people are seeking assistance to feed their families.

Though it may be hard to believe, in the Santa Clarita Valley, that could mean your family, friends and neighbors.

“There are more homeless people and more people in need here than some people want to realize,” said Wendi Lancy, director of the Santa Clarita Valley chapter of Help The Children.

“We serve a lot of seniors, but we also serve a lot of people who have someone in their household who has lost their job,” she added.

The Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of Help The Children serves families in areas ranging from Castaic and Val Verde to Acton.

Over 500 new families have signed up to receive food at the SCV Help the Children, a non-profit 501(c)3 charity, since Jan. 1, 2009.  
Unfortunately, food donations have been drastically reduced during the summer months and supplies have diminished to an astonishingly low level.

Cash donations are also down 30-40 percent, according to Lancy.

“We really need the community’s support, since we don’t receive government funding and we operate on a one percent budget.

That means we spend 99 cents per dollar on food and one percent on overhead. We truly rely on volunteers and donation,” she said.

Community members who want to contribute non-perishable food and personal hygiene items to Help The Children are encouraged to do so at two local events this weekend.

The Castaic Days and the Magic Mountain Man Triathlon & 5K events are both hosting food drives for Help the Children today and Saturday.

Donations will be accepted at the following locations:

Castaic Days
The Help the Children booth is located inside the entrance in the Kid’s Area.
n Today:  5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
n Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Triathlon & 5K
Magic Mountain Man Triathlon & 5K at the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
n 28410 Avenue Stanford, Valencia.
n Saturday  8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Current needs include: cereal, ramen noodles, tuna, rice, dry beans, evaporated milk, individual juice boxes, sugar, flour, salt, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly, canned vegetables, crackers, canned chili, canned beans, and side dishes such as instant potatoes, Hamburger Helper, or Rice-a-Roni.   

Personal hygiene items and baby supplies such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, diapers and wipes are also gratefully accepted.

Help The Children’s on-site food bank is often the primary nutrition source for its clients, which must have a photo identification and proof of residency (unless homeless) to apply for the program.

Once approved, clients are given the once-a-week opportunity to pick up groceries at the organization’s headquarters on Ruether Ave.

“Our food supplies are drastically low right now,” Lancy said. “We’re out of many items completely and we’re trying to provide for about 150-175 families every week right now.”

Local grocery stores currently provide perishable items such as milk, bread, and fresh produce; Lancy noted Albertson’s, Whole Foods, and some area Ralphs as participants.

Non-perishables are usually provided by individuals, business, churches or other organizations.

“We’re hoping for a huge response from our food drives this weekend,” Lancy said. “We’re hoping to have enough food donated to get us through at least a month or more.  Right now, we’re surviving day to day.”

For more information about volunteer opportunities and the local, nationwide, international and disaster relief efforts of Help the Children, call (661) 299-9273, e-mail wendi@helpthechildren.org or visit www.helpthechildren.org.

Help the Children – Santa Clarita is located at 26450 Ruether Ave., Ste. 208, Santa Clarita.

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