Laguna Food Pantry Awarded Grants Totaling $85,500

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Volunteers pack bags of groceries at the Laguna Food Pantry on Tuesday. Courtesy of Anne Belyea

The Laguna Food Pantry has received a flurry of grants over the last week totaling $85,500 as the economic fallout from the coronavirus continues.

On Monday, the Pantry saw a new record high of 215 individual shoppers, executive director Anne Belyea said. The Pantry also serviced 24 new shoppers on April 13. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, four new shoppers in a day was a high number for the Laguna Canyon location, Belyea said Tuesday.

“For our little pantry, it’s a huge number,” she said.

Belyea added that her organization currently enjoys good wholesale prices at two local food banks, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. However, the Pantry’s operating costs could increase if those suppliers become unavailable due to increased demand across the region.

“We have every intention of staying open throughout this and weathering this storm and that’s why we’re continuing to write grants as they become available,” Belyea said 

On Friday, the Ginny and Peter Ueberroth Family Foundation announced a $20,000 gift to the Pantry to supply essential groceries to the growing number of families in need. Peter Ueberroth is a former commissioner of Major League Baseball and chairman of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee. The Ueberroths are co-founders of Sage Hill School in Newport Coast.

The OC Community Resilience Fund (OCCRF), a project administered by the Newport Beach-based nonprofit Charitable Ventures, also gifted $25,000 to the Laguna Food Pantry last week.

Two anonymous foundations, including one with strong ties to Laguna Beach, presented the Laguna Food Pantry with grants totaling $40,000 through OCCRF.

Lastly, the Lalitha Varanasi Foundation Fund also contributed $500 to the Laguna Food Pantry with a $500 unrestricted grant through OCCRF. 

“Laguna Food Pantry is so grateful to the OC Community Resilience Fund for the financial support to remain open, to serve thousands of people per month who rely on the Pantry for food during these unprecedented times of tremendous need,” Belyea said in a statement. “The Pantry is proud to be among the first-round grantees of the OC Community Resilience Fund.”

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