An interfaith community supported approach to alleviating hunger.
The West Valley Food Pantry (WVFP) began in 1975 as a small closet located in the kitchen of Prince of Peace Episcopal Church (POP). The Rector at the time, Rev. Jess Taylor, began the program by asking the POP parishioners to supply the pantry with canned goods. This small pantry (and small staff consisting mainly of Margaret Shively, the church secretary) provided food to three to five families a week over the course of several years.
In 1985, Clem Matzen, a retired social worker and member of POP, developed the idea of getting other churches and synagogues to join in the effort of feeding the local hungry in the West Valley. Clem gathered ten other churches and synagogues into the formal coalition which is the West Valley Food Pantry. Creating a coalition enabled the WVFP to obtain food from the LA food bank at a substantial discount and to supplement the pantry shelves with cost-free government food contributions.
Other organizations have added their support to the WVFP. The San Fernando Valley chapter of the National Charity League (NCL) began supporting the Pantry over 25 years ago and is today one of the Pantry's largest contributors. NCL mother-daughter teams work as volunteers directly with the clients and for special programs like Christmas gifts. The coalition decided to partner with the Family Rescue Center (Rescate) in Canoga Park around 1998. As out sister pantry, Rescate distributes food received from WVFP as well as other services to many Spanish-speaking clients.