Ventura News Press November 27, 2013

Foothill Unity CenterA!A|s annual Thanksgiving food distribution in partnership with its eleven-city community started Monday as precisely as a Swiss watch. The distribution for families was held at Ayers Hall at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia Monday. A second distribution for individuals was be held Tuesday, November 26, at the CenterA!A|s Monrovia and Pasadena locations.
While the operations this year ran smoothly and with a great volunteer effort, the need is greater than ever according to officials.
The difficult economy and cuts in the CalFresh food stamp program are swelling the ranks of local people who need help to feed their families, says Center Executive Director Betty McWilliams. Last year, we served more than 1,336 pre-registered families, she notes. As economic conditions remain difficult; the need for our weekly food assistance has grown. The communityA!A|s support is more vital than ever. 77% of the CenterA!A|s clients are at or below the National Poverty Level.
The Thanksgiving Distribution is just one aspect of the CenterA!A|s year-round Family Food Program, which provided over 3.6 million pounds of groceries to food-insecure clients last year. Each month, clients receive a grocery cart of food items, sized by number of people in the family to supplement needs for 7-10 days. They may return to pick up perishable food items once a week, including fresh produce, dairy and baked goods. The Center also delivers monthly food packages to qualified homebound senior and disabled clients, and gives 50 to 60 substantial bag lunches (enough for about two days) three times a week to homeless or those who have no place to store or cook food. Its volunteer-run Pet Food Bank helped 726 families keep their pets last year.
The Center also provides referrals to over 100 organizations for crisis and housing assistance, employment counseling, and much more. Its Health Services Child Health Connection program connects children with urgent health care needs to free and low-cost care, helps uninsured clients enroll for low-cost insurance coverage, and conducts health screenings and education seminars. It also operates a Medical Outreach Clinic in partnership with the Community Health Alliance of Pasadena (ChapCare) providing health and dental care to homeless and uninsured adult clients.
Founded in 1980, Foothill Unity Center is the primary provider of food, case management/crisis help, and access to health care resources across eleven San Gabriel Valley cities in Los Angeles County, California. As the federally designated Community Action Agency for the Foothill Area, we operate two locations, in Monrovia and Pasadena, serving clients in Pasadena, Altadena, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Monrovia, Bradbury, Duarte, Azusa, Baldwin Park and Irwindale. 77% of clients are at or below the National Poverty Level. The number of people served by the organization has more than tripled over the last five years, making community funding and volunteer support more critical than ever.
-Photo by Terry Miller

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