Laguna Food Pantry Sees Record Number of Shoppers

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Sally’s Fund driver Jason Pastore (left) assists Laguna Food Pantry volunteers Tom Richeson and Vince Jenkins load groceries headed to elderly residents on March 17. Courtesy of Laguna Food Pantry.

Small and large acts of kindness have transpired at the Laguna Beach Food Pantry this week, the executive director says.

A local man in hospice and his caregiver brought two bags of lemons picked from trees at his home to donate to fellow pantry visitors before securing his own groceries.

Two staffers with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs picked up groceries for 27 veterans and their families throughout Orange County.

“They were in tears when they left,” executive director Anne Belyea said Wednesday. “They were just so grateful to be giving out food to these deserving men and women.”

With many hourly workers suddenly furloughed or laid-off, the Pantry served a record number of 188 shoppers on Monday in a drive-thru set up in the Pantry’s parking lot. That number was down to 169 shoppers on Tuesday.

On a typical day, the Pantry serves 100 to 120 shoppers, Belyea said.

Instead of allowing our shoppers inside to select what they want to bring home to their families, volunteers are bagging food and providing curbside service. The Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 10:30 a.m.   

Laguna Food Pantry still relies on the rescued groceries from local markets. With the grocery shelves depleted, these donations are slim to non-existent. Most donated food is now coming from Second Harvest Food Bank.

“It’s lovely to see this outpour from our community,” Belyea said.

Following the Suzi Q Center’s closure, the Pantry partnered with Sally’s Fund to help feed seniors who depend upon their daily Age Well lunch program.

At this time, the Pantry is not accepting new volunteers.

To donate, visit lagunafoodpantry.org or mail checks to Laguna Food Pantry, 20652 Laguna Canyon Road, Unit B, Laguna Beach, CA  92651. For more information, email [email protected] or call 949-497-7121.

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