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Volunteers Transforming Lives Through Kindness at this Food Bank Partner Agency

Volunteers Transforming Lives Through Kindness at this Food Bank Partner Agency

Vivian has been volunteering for years at the Food Bank’s partner agency, the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena

In the heart of Pasadena, the First Church of the Nazarene, more commonly referred to as PazNaz, stands as a beacon of hope and sustenance for the community. Every week, the church partners with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to host a drive-through food distribution, providing essential nourishment and human connection to those in need.

Vivian Transforms Lives at Every Food Distribution

It’s here we had the privilege of meeting Vivian, a veteran volunteer whose dedication has touched countless lives. Her journey as a volunteer began at the onset of the pandemic, driven by a deep desire to serve her community. Despite grappling with her own health challenges, including a battle with breast cancer, Vivian has only missed two distributions. Supported by her husband, who ensured she took breaks and brought her a chair during her treatments, Vivian epitomizes the spirit of resilience and compassion that characterizes the PazNaz food distribution effort.

The distribution process at PazNaz is more than just handing out food; it’s a meticulously organized operation designed to provide nutritious meals and a sense of dignity to each recipient. Every step from the intake station to the final send-off is infused with care and consideration. Each car is handled with special attention, ensuring that every household receives the appropriate amount of food tailored to their needs and preferences.

PazNaz’s impact is incredible – reaching more than 570 families each week, totaling close to 2,000 individuals. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Food Bank can provide PazNaz and our other agency partners with essential food staples, as well as personal care and hygiene products. Vivian shared, “You name it: yogurt, milk, chicken, cheese, asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, jackfruit, bread– the Food Bank provides really fresh, varied options.”

As cars line up before dawn, Vivian takes her place at the final station, offering personal care items and a warm send-off to each recipient. But her contribution extends far beyond the distribution of goods; it lies in the connections she forges with those who come seeking assistance. Vivian listens to their stories, offers words of encouragement, and provides a comforting presence in their time of need.

One poignant example she shared is the story of a woman who had lost both her husband and son to COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic. Through the darkest of times, Vivian and the PazNaz food distribution remained a source of solace and reliable support for the grieving woman, offering a glimmer of hope amid the despair. Vivian found herself laughing again last week for the first time since her loss.

Vivian finds joy in knowing that her efforts make a difference in the lives of those she serves. Whether it’s a simple fist bump, a prayer, or a listening ear, Vivian’s presence brings comfort and reassurance to folks who find themselves in difficult circumstances. As she reflects on her experience, Vivian emphasizes that “People need that connection. We listen to them. People always tell me, ‘I wouldn’t be able to make it if you weren’t here.’ What they can take home is that here at PazNaz, no matter who they are, what car they drive, what they say, they know and feel that they are completely accepted. There is no reason to feel ashamed to come here to get food. I know these people, I love them, and I carry them in my heart.”

Food Pantries Make a Difference

In a world with many challenges, the Food Bank’s more than 600 partners, much like the one with PazNaz, stand fast as a testament to the redemptive power of community and kindness. We see it every day, all across Los Angeles County: lives are transformed, and hope is given freely. As we look to the future, let us remember Vivian’s sentiments: no one should ever feel ashamed to seek help, for here, they are welcomed with open arms and embraced with love.

Consider donating to the Food Bank and supporting programs like the one available at PazNaz.

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If you are in a position to do so, consider donating to the Food Bank and supporting our programs.

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