“Essential Giving” at Friends in Deed

Tim Nistler, Friends in Deed Food Pantry Manager, says community donations will be critical this season.

Among the many lessons of 2020 is that community is of utmost importance and taking care of one another is the best definition of “essential.” The PCF COVID-19 Response Fund grantees are especially relying on community care and giving this year. With the winter holidays just around the corner, we spotlight how Friends in Deed (FID) has adapted to this year’s needs and how the community can support their programs in December.

Relying on Community 

Friends in Deed, an interfaith organization in northwest Pasadena, assists low-income, no-income, and unhoused clientele with a range of programs, including its busy Food Pantry. FID’s food needs have been increasing throughout the pandemic, but this fall, the organization has seen yet another jump in new clients. The pantry now provides food boxes to more than 400 households per week, a weekly increase of 60, which FID has been able to meet thanks in part to PCF’s COVID-19 Response grants. This expanding need – and the requisite organizational pivots – have become part of their new normal, as Food Pantry Manager Tim Nistler explains:

“Our model prior to the pandemic was like a grocery store: We let clients visit and pick out the food they needed from our shelves. Now, to keep our clients and staff socially distanced, we’ve had to adapt to pre-packaged food boxes, which are distributed from our parking lot.”

However, FID’s critical partner, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (LARFB), has experienced a decreased production capacity to pack the shelf-stable boxes that FID relies on. Boxes that were once nearly complete for distribution upon arrival from LARFB now require FID volunteers to create bags containing 14-16 shelf-stable food items. “This means were depleting our shelves faster than ever before. Consequently, we are relying on the community to help supplement the food from LARFB and keep our shelves stocked,” says Nistler.

How to Help

FID has several ways you can help this month. Monetary donations are always welcome, as well as food and household items. The FID website has complete information. A visit to Vroman’s Bookstore can also support FID’s efforts. The store’s annual Giving Tree will ensure that children clients at FID get a holiday gift this year. Head to the second-floor Children’s Department and choose a snowflake ornament from the tree, which notes a child’s name, age, and gift wish. Vroman’s offers a 20% discount for in-store gift purchases. Then, leave it to the store’s staff to deliver the gift to the happy recipient. Reach out to Vroman’s with any questions.

Vroman’s Bookstore Giving Tree with gift requests from Friends in Deed children clients.

Support “essential giving” this season. Join us as a PCF Friend & Fellow and provide ongoing support to organizations like Friends in Deed throughout the Pasadena area.