PCF Formalizes Food Security Program, Grants $100,000

A line of people forms behind large crates and platforms of donated canned goods for a holiday food distribution. They are outdoors, standing in the sunshine. Clients line up to wait for NDLON’s Mano a Mano holiday food distribution, December 16, 2023. NDLON is one of four nonprofits to receive PCF’s Food Security funding.

Pasadena Community Foundation has just announced $100,000 in Food Security Grants to four local food pantries and distribution centers in the Pasadena area. One year ago, food pantries alerted PCF that they were experiencing overwhelming and unprecedented need, and PCF stepped in with $100,000 in emergency funding. As dire food insecurity persists in Pasadena and LA County, PCF has now strengthened its commitment to communities with food access issues with the addition of a Food Security Grant Program to its roster of annual grant programs. The Community Service Fund, a fund of PCF, contributed to this year’s funding.

“A key part of PCF’s mission is to respond to community needs as they arise, and with food insecurity higher now than pre-pandemic levels, this certainly is an urgent need right now in the Pasadena area,” says PCF’s Program Director Jeannine Bogaard. “We are proud to formalize our annual support for the organizations that are caring for local households at risk for hunger.”

A 6% Increase in Food Insecure Households

Food insecurity refers to disruptions in food access and regular eating because of limited money or other resources; it is a state that people can transition in and out of. Throughout LA County, about 1 million households are experiencing food insecurity as 2023 comes to a close – a 6% increase since December 2022.  Among low-income households, food insecurity is the worst in 10 years, according to a July 2023 study conducted by USC Dornsife Public Exchange.

The increase in food insecurity can be explained in part by the end of a pandemic-era boost to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known as CalFresh in California. These emergency benefits came to an end in March 2023. The challenges of inflation and rising food costs only add to the crisis. With more people struggling to find adequate food, there is a concurrent increase in demand for services provided by food pantries and food banks. PCF Food Security Grants will support four of them:

First African Methodist Episcopalian (FAME) Church will receive $25,000 in PCF grant funding. FAME serves 550 persons and 180 families per week, an increase of approximately 25% more people seeking assistance over last year. The organization reports that many of its clients – especially elderly and disabled members of the community – are unable to travel to the FAME Food Pantry to pick-up their weekly groceries. PCF funding will help FAME sustain and increase the number of a clients that participate in its home delivery program.

Five women wearing bright, festive holiday attired, including hats and face masks, stand outdoors and to the left of a large pile of bags ready to donate during a food drive. To the right of the bags stands another woman, wearing a red sweater, reindeer antlers, and a white face mask.
Volunteers at First AME Church prepare to hand out food packages to clients.

Friends in Deed will receive $50,000 in grant funding. The organization serves 535 households/week, which is almost 90 more households per week than in 2022. As 2023 closes, Friends in Deed has served a total of 2,734 unique households or 6,562 individuals.

NDLON (National Day Laborer Organizing Network will receive $15,ooo for its Mano a Mano Food Bank. It serves 150 individuals per week. The organization reports that it has been expanding services beyond food distribution to promote better community health through nutrition classes and visiting nurses from local clinics and hospitals. Funding will help expand that effort. Watch the Mano a Mano holiday food distribution in action.

PACTL (Pasadena Altadena Coalition for Transformational Leaders) will receive $10,000. It also serves 150 individuals per week, many of whom identify as indigenous and who trust PACTL for their focus on that population and their efforts to provide them with the foods that are culturally appropriate.

A young man is outdoors in a parking lot pushing a red dolly. He is wearing a black hat, facemask, and blue shorts. Behind him is another man, facing away from the camera and towards many boxes of donated food.
A volunteer at PACTL helps prepare food packages.