“Our values are with our community and we are informed by our community. Creating our food pantry was a natural extension of our work because we are a family, and we share what we have.” – Yoland Trevino, PACTL.ORG Executive Director
At Pasadena/Altadena Coalition of Transformative Leaders (PACTL.ORG), the word Runawasi – a Quechua word meaning “our home” – pays tribute to their indigenous roots and guides their mission to reweave the social fabric of diverse communities to help residents become active participants in their health and education.
PACTL’s clients and families are low-income and at-risk youth, families, and seniors who have been hurt badly by the COVID-19 crisis. Many do not have resources for secure housing, transportation, or food. PACTL’s years of working in the community have built trust among the people they serve, including many who may be reluctant to seek help elsewhere.
“Many of our families are immigrants, and it is not part of their culture or values to ask for food or handouts,” said Ms. Trevino. “All of the food and assistance we provide is culturally-relevant and based on reciprocity. We buy the food in bulk, and our parents volunteer to pack and distribute it so they are giving back in addition to taking what they and their children need.”
PCF recognized PACTL’s unique capacity to reach vulnerable populations in Pasadena and Altadena and provided a COVID-19 Response grant to meet the exponential increase in need among their clients. With funds from PCF, and leveraging their community partnerships and active volunteer base, PACTL is now providing food, supplies, and support services to 200 families.
PACTL’s deep community roots have also allowed Ms. Trevino and her staff to step in as acting case managers, counselors, and all-around problem-solvers for their families during the pandemic. Staff members who were hired for 2020 census outreach are now delivering meals and boxes of fresh vegetables to families because they too, are trusted members of the community.
Throughout the first two phases of PCF’s COVID-19 Response community assessment and grantmaking, the Foundation has heard over and over that staying connected during these times of social isolation is critical. PACTL has been so effective in delivering relief because they are in constant and responsive communication with their families. Staff members call 130 families twice a week to check in, provide information about food pantry hours and deliveries, accept suggestions, and assist with everything from baby supplies to emergency shelter.
“We are miracle workers only because we have the community supporting us,” said Ms. Trevino. “All of our parents want to be contributors. All of our youth want to volunteer and be engaged. We have already begun talking about sustainable ways that we can ensure our families will continue to have enough to eat once the pandemic eases.”
Click here to learn more about PACTL.ORG on their website, or visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/pactl.org/.