Tag Archives: mend poverty

Team Moorpark baggin grapefruits…

Last Saturday, Ryan lead an amazing team of Moorpark High School volunteers who helped bag over 8,300lbs of juicy grapefruits in just 2 hours at Burney’s Ranch which was then shared between Catholic Charities of Moorpark & MEND Poverty in Pacoima! A huge thanks to all the volunteers who came out and to our incredibly generous & gracious host Mr. Burney… Go Team Moorpark!!!


Summer Fruit Harvesting in Full Swing

July has been a busy month for our volunteer fruit loops as we are in the middle of the peak summer fruit season (valencia oranges, peaches, plums, etc.) with the calls from homeowners not wanting to see their fruit go to waste increasing!

In the last 2 weeks, we have harvested thousands of pounds of fresh fruit from homes in Hancock Park, Winnetka, Granada Hills and Studio City.

Quick Reminder:  Our 4th Volunteer Meet n’ Greet is this coming Tuesday 7-27-10 at MEND Poverty.

Food Forward is now 18 months old! We have achieved many amazing accomplishments that we would love to share with you. To get a chance to catch up, meet you all, introduce you to some of the work we are doing, and ways you can be involved with us, we are holding our fourth Volunteer Meet n’ Greet at MEND Poverty, one of our receiving partner pantries, this coming Tuesday, July 27, 2010.  

MEND is located at 10641 N. San Fernando Rd., Pacoima, CA 91331

We’ll start off promptly at 7pm with a short tour of this amazing facility dedicated to alleviating hunger and poverty in the community through food distribution and offering a wide range of supportive services and then give you the lowdown on Food Forward, what we are up to, what is happening in our second year of operation. We will talk about volunteer needs we have currently, get your ideas and answer any questions about how we work and how your energy can be added to our work feeding LA’s hungry.


Stay tuned for our upcoming Fresh Juice which will be loaded with juicy harvests & events coming up in August!

Hope to see you all in a tree very soon…

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive & MEND Poverty

A huge thank you to an amazing group of Food Forward volunteers who came out on Saturday to the Sherman Oaks post office and to MEND Poverty to help support the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive! We helped sort, box & load over 10,000lbs of food brought in by the Sherman Oaks mail carriers and are still waiting for the final… total of food donated to MEND in just one day (definitely over 100,000lbs)… A big thanks to Sonia at the Sherman Oaks Post Office and to Rich, Luke and the entire MEND team for letting us be a part of an amazing day!

LOVE PICK yields 6,500lbs!

The love was flowing  on Valentine’s Day in the franklin canyon orange grove as 35 volunteers harvested 6,500lbs of oranges with 100% going to MEND Poverty to feed LA’s hungry.

A big thank you to the DWP, Lt. Avila and his security team for giving us access to the property, to the amazing group of volunteers who came out on a beautiful 80 degree day to make the first “LOVE PICK” a huge success and a special shout out to Rich from MEND for all his support, the beautiful flowers  and for helping us make this day so full of love !

100000 lbs…its official

Having never had the chance to lead a group – let alone one with the energy, creativity and great spirit of Food Forward, today was humbling indeed.

As massive clouds gathered, the biggest storm system in a year on its way through LA, I awoke knowing we had a small window to get through our last picks of the final weekend of our first fiscal fruit year.  Saturday produced a fruit tear like none we had ever attempted with Erica, Carl, Marie and volunteers old and new, plus Frank from MEND, helping them pick their way through over a half dozen properties – with every single piece of fruit going to someone in need.  All setting the stage for today to take us to the very satisfying round 100,000 lb mark. Yes, dedication…and a wee bit of insanity mixed in for good measure.

It was a year ago today that myself and a lone volunteer, Karin, who had responded to an ad on Craigslist, gleaned 85 lbs of tangerines off my pal Heather’s tree in damp cold – with little idea of even how to pick the fruit, let alone how to pack it.  Today, over a dozen and a half of our core  team, new pick leaders in training, family and spouses returned to Heather’s backyard and the tree where it all began, to complete the harvesting and delivery of our fiftieth ton of fresh free fruit for the hungry of Southern CA.  Inspiring indeed.

I feel so lucky to be able to have led this amazing clan, and with them build a brand new non-profit from 2 volunteers to over 900 – in the worst economy since the great depression – all on a miniscule budget of money but an amazing surplus of human spirit.  Nearly a hundred picks under our belts – the volume, support and good will we have experienced is truly humbling…and now leads us to year two.

Big properties, new volunteers and pantry partners are all there. As we go through some (but hopefully not too drastic) growing pains and enter year two, I know I speak for Erica, Marie and Carl when I say  “THANKS!!” to all – SOVA, MEND, our funders, volunteers, fruitanthropists, our families… for helping Food Forward truly become the community grassroots organization it now is –

Time to toast – once or twice…

Bravo Crew :))

Getting fruity with Gay4Good!

Last Saturday, Food Forward had an amazing day of fruit picking with the boys and girls of Gay4Good at our Simi Valley orange pick! Together we harvested over 3,700lbs of Valencia oranges shared between MEND Poverty in Pacoima and the Jeff Griffith Youth Center in Hollywood. We look forward to collaborating with them …again soon and thank all the volunteers who came out to help harvest free fresh fruit for LA’s hungry!

A big w/e of picking…and growing

As the weekend comes to a close it’s incredibly rewarding to look back and see that nearly two dozen FF volunteers helped make three picks a reality these past few days.

Yesterday over a thousand pounds of otherwise forgotten cluster and beefsteak tomatoes were plucked from Pierce College’s fields (and there’s much more awaiting us if we can get there this week!), we did a full day of outreach in Northridge signing up several more homes for gleaning, and today hundreds of pounds of persimmons and grapefruit were liberated from two different homes on opposite sides of the Valley.  (pix to come)

MEND will use the fruit to fill nutritious boxes for their over 20,000 clients a month, and additionally every piece we harvested these last few days not handed out directly will go to cooking sauces and other dishes, for the hundreds a week which depend on their soup kitchen.

Yes, the weight is great, but more so, its humbling to meet the number of new volunteers and see then see them come back, wanting to get more involved. We’re doing all we can to add more picks and take in all the great ideas and offers being floated our way – it may take a little time.

October is a month which saw its first 8 picks fill in 48 hours – something a bit daunting to us all at FF – so as we try to keep up, we hope you’ll keep joining us and making great picks like this a reality. Thanks!