The Food Drive-Thru is proudly staffed and supported by local Scouts!
Founded in 2012, the annual Food Drive-Thru event was established to achieve multiple goals:
- COLLECT FOOD DONATIONS on behalf of the West Valley Food Pantry. The event takes place two weekends prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, and that's not a coincidence. The holiday season is the busiest time for the Pantry, and we want to do our part to support their efforts to help feed thousands of customers in need during the holidays and beyond. Since the event's inception, 300,671 pounds of food donations have been collected and given to the West Valley Food Pantry.
- PUT SCOUTS TO WORK. The Food Drive-Thru event is staffed by hundreds of Girl Scout and Boy Scout volunteers ranging in age from 6-17 years old. They are truly hands-on with every area of the event operation, and as a result, they have a unique and personal connection to "making the machine work", and a vested interest in contributing to the event's success. On average, over 500 Scouts volunteer their time during the course of the two-day event, totaling nearly 1400 combined hours of volunteerism each year.
- INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY. The Food Drive-Thru event is literally a drive-through food drive. There's nothing more exciting than seeing the joy on a donor's face as they drive through the event and see the smiling faces of the Scout volunteers. It's fun, unique, convenient, and charitable.
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 recruited ten other churches and synagogues to join 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 a sister pantry, Rescate distributes food received from WVFP as well as other services to many Spanish-speaking clients.
Today, the WVFP has over 200 volunteers serving an average of 2-1/2 hours monthly. They purchase or take delivery of food shipments, stock shelves, validate client eligibility, maintain distribution records, shop for specials, buy and pick up food, as well as assist in the daily distribution. The WVFP serves twelve zip codes that cover the West San Fernando Valley. Our efforts are made possible by the contributions of both food and money we receive from the local community and our coalition members. The Annual Food Drive-Thru event, produced by local Boy & Girl Scouts, has become the single largest contributor of food to the West Valley Food Pantry. Donations are always welcome as we strive to insure that "No one goes away hungry".