When it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to severely impact the San Fernando Valley, resulting in a health emergency and economic repercussions, the Mission sprang into action. Just days after the idea was formulated, a pop-up pantry at the Northridge Fashion Center was launched.
The pantry, a collaboration between the mission, Harbor Recuperative Care, District 12 Los Angeles City Councilmember John Lee, the Valley Food Bank, and other partners, provided 14,696 meals to the local community in its two months of two-day-a-week operations.
“Thank you so much for the groceries today,” said one grocery recipient. “While all the items provided were greatly appreciated, the kids were delighted with the bread, peanut butter, juice, and the snacks. It was nice to see the smiles and pure joy on their faces when they opened the bag. These groceries are a lifesaver and will keep our family fed for a few days. Everyone right from the volunteers who emailed us to those who helped load the bags at the pop-up pantry site were very polite and made us feel welcome. Thanks a ton for the selfless service and for helping us during these tough times. God bless.”
Another pantry visitor told staff she appreciated the support. “We are very thankful and we just wanted you all to know how much we appreciate you. All the people at the pantry were super friendly and made us feel welcomed. In these hard times asking for help can make you feel ashamed and a bit embarrassed but they made me feel very welcome.”
As businesses started reopening in early June, specifically the Northridge Fashion Center, the pop-up pantry wrapped up its run. In the end, 7,348 people across 44 cities were served. And the pantry received 36,740 pounds of food—or 18 tons—of food donations.