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Phil Rizzo: The SCV Food Pantry needs help

Full Speed to Port!

Posted: May 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

When choosing an organization you may want to support, consider the benefits of giving to local needs. By doing so, you can actually go and look over the operation and meet the people benefiting from your donation. You also can meet other donors, who may be giving their time, and possibly money, too.

Seriously consider the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry as the recipient of your gift — be it money or a donation of your labor. This nonprofit organization does an outstanding job of feeding those who need that basic support.

I personally find it hard to believe that there are people, especially children, who go hungry in the United States of America. The facts below make it clear that hunger lurks in many corners of the SCV. The nature of the current economy makes it clear that a whole lot of Americans go to bed hungry.

The SCV Food Pantry is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. On that momentous first day, it gave out one bottle of cooking oil to two client families. In 2010, it distributed $1.3 million-worth of food to those who qualified in the valley.

The pantry’s mission statement is as follows: “Our mission is to alleviate hunger throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. We accomplish this with a dynamic group of volunteers who source food and cash donations, package nutritious food to stretch a family’s food supply and distribute that food to qualifying residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.”

The food pantry has many activities to help fulfill the needs of the programs. It takes 100 regular volunteers, including board members, to keep activities running. In 2009 alone, the pantry distributed food to 6,500 families in need. Half of their clients were children.

Partnering with the local senior center, more than 1,100 seniors are served by special programs. In addition, some 20-plus homebound seniors per month receive food from the pantry.

In the city of Santa Clarita, 8.2 percent of the households earned less than $15,000, and more than 16 percent earn less than $29,999 per year, according to information online.

I have a hard time doing the math that would allow a family to make ends meet at $15,000 per year or less. Something’s got to give with budgets that tight, and proper nourishment for babies, children and adults often suffer. Seniors on tight, fixed budgets are especially vulnerable.

Clients of the food pantry must be qualified as living in the Santa Clarita Valley, and a prescribed income.

The food pantry also has a number of special programs. Included are: the Milk Money Program; the Healthy Baby Program; and the Nutritional Awareness Program. In addition, there is a Seniors Only Day. All have been created to fulfill the mission statement.

As we are reminded daily, there is a great need for charitable giving. Some of us may be reluctant to give, having in mind that the government should be taking care of the needy.

Government has a sturdy role providing aid to the needy, but if you want to feel really good, take on a do-it-yourself program and do it locally.

People may not be aware that government got into the welfare business because private charities, including churches, were not able to fulfill all of the needs. Welfare started in the last century to help widows with children. Today, the need for charitable donations still persists, even with government aid.

The hungry need your help. Give what you can.

You can contact the SCV Food Pantry at (661) 255-9078 or online, www.scvfoodpantry.org.

Phil Rizzo is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

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