Since 2004, we have hosted our annual dinner and auction, Empty Bowls, to raise needed funds to support our food pantry and lunch programs, which operate five days a week year-round including holidays. The generous response from local ceramics artists and our supporters has made this event a popular annual gathering that provides more than a quarter of our operating budget. We are so grateful for this sustaining support. Due to the risks posed by the pandemic, we will not be able to host our Empty Bowls dinner this year.
If you are able, please join us in our mission to feed local farmworkers, working poor families, and homeless, disabled, and elderly individuals in our community with a gift to our Empty Bowls fundraising campaign. Your donation will sustain our frontline response to the pandemic emergency in the Pajaro Valley.
Since mid-March, Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes has been responding to the pandemic emergency, providing two to three times the typical number of pantry visits since the stay at home order took effect — including visits by hundreds of first time recipients of our services. We also began preparing 40% more lunches daily, switching to a “to-go” format to accommodate social distancing requirements. From mid-March through the end of April, we served 4,074 lunches (daily average of 120 meals) and provided groceries through 3,030 pantry visits (an average of nearly 90 visits daily).
In our more than 30 years of service to the residents of the Pajaro Valley, we have responded to the on-going emergency of hunger in our community and fed our neighbors in times of crisis — the Loma Prieta earthquake, the floods of the 1990s, the Great Recession, and now the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the generous outpouring of support from our donors, we have added temporary staff and purchased additional food and supplies to meet the increased need for our essential services.
As the nation faces food shortages, we have increased our budget to purchase healthy staple foods, such as beans, rice, lentils, and peanut butter, that are usually available through donation channels, to maintain the nutritional quality of the food we provide.
We will miss gathering around the table to share food and fellowship, as we have every fall for the past 16 years at our Empty Bowls events. Thank you for sharing our vision of a well-nourished Pajaro Valley community where all residents have access to healthy food. Please give to our Empty Bowls campaign, if you are able. We are truly grateful for your generosity and support.