By Rhea Kuhlman, Pantry Volunteer
In the two and a half years that John and Peggy Holl have been picking up bread donations from Con Pane Bakery at Liberty Station, hauling it to the South Bay Food Pantry in their small car, weighing it, and individually wrapping or bagging each loaf or pastry assortment, they’ve handled about 7,200 pounds of bread, or a little over 3.6 tons. That’s a lot of tonnage for a couple in their 80s! Now the Holls are passing the torch to a new generation of volunteers, to satisfy their children, who worry about their night driving on the freeway.
They’ve enjoyed doing this important work, and feel good about providing this delicious and nutritious food to our pantry client families, many of whom are working people or retirees who would otherwise be facing food insecurity. This is high quality nutrition that would be going into landfills if not for the work of people like the Holls, creating methane, a climate warming gas 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. A new California law mandates that food sellers attempt to donate unsold but still safe food to food banks or other charitable organizations, to cut down on food waste. The law will also help mitigate unnecessary hunger in this, the richest country in the world. But Con Pane, which is part of the socially conscious Cohn family of restaurants, had been making these donations even before the law was passed.
Alternating most recently with Jim and Sara Ferguson, the Holls have provided this service to the pantry twice a month, at first picking up the donations at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning, but eventually switching to a more doable Saturday night. After receiving the bread (and occasional pastries), they would spend a few hours packing it for distribution on the following week, storing it in pantry freezers in the meantime. The Sunday diaper clients also benefit from this work, as they’re able to receive a fresh loaf of bread when they pick up diapers for their children.
Several pantry volunteers pick up bread and other types of food on Thursdays and Fridays, from a wide variety of grocery stores and similar venues. Volunteers are always needed and welcome for this important activity, which provides a valuable free supplement to the food we purchase (at a discounted rate) from the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego.
The Holls say they’re immensely proud of the work our church is doing to feed the hungry. Although we participate in charitable activities with other religious organizations, this is the one activity First UU supports entirely on its own. And of course, being the Holls, they’re by no means finished contributing to the mission of the pantry. They’ll continue to support it both financially and with their time. As they have been for the last few years, they’ll distribute diapers on Sunday mornings, and fill in on an emergency basis for other volunteers as they’re needed and able.
THANK YOU, Peggy and John, for your past and continued support of First UU of San Diego’s South Bay Food Pantry.
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