The Pacific Palisades Rotary Club presented a $10,000 check to the Westside Food Bank on February 26. This is the largest donation club has even made and ranks as one of the largest checks given as a single donation to the nonprofit.
“This check will help provide 40,000 meals,” said Westside Food Bank’s Executive Director Bruce Rankin at the presentation ceremony at the Food Bank, located off Cloverfield on 22nd Street in Santa Monica.
“We’ve doubled distribution during the Covid pandemic, but the local need has tripled,” Rankin said. “It has been a worry.”
The Food Bank, in a typical year, passes out more than 500 million pounds of food.
Rankin lauded Pacific Palisades as “the most generous zip code in our area.” He praised the Rotary Club, foundations, religious organizations and residents for their donations.
“The Pacific Palisades Rotary Club chose to support the Westside Food Bank without hesitation, given the tireless work being done to feed families in our neighborhood,” said Club President Trish Bowe. “As Rotarians, our motto is Service Above Self, leading with the ideology that we have a shared responsibility to take action and provide assistance to resolve the issues facing our communities.
“It is a great honor to support the Westside Food Bank as they bridge the needs of our neighbors and friends,” said Bowe, who has a State Farm agency on Via de la Paz.
Rankin told Circling the News that the pandemic has increased food insecurity because of loss of jobs. “It has been a worry for renters and a disaster for landlords, too,” he said. “We’re spending $200,000 on wholesale grocery purchases.
“Every day, we have trucks coming in with food loaded for us,” Rankin said, noting that the food given out has a high standard of nutrition, which also means it’s also more expensive to purchase. “We could buy lots of soda, because it’s cheap, but half of the food we distribute is fresh produce.”
Currently the best way to help support the Westside Food Bank is through cash donations – because of the pandemic. A $5 donation will provide 20 meals.
Rankin explained that many parents like to teach their children about helping the less fortunate by packing food bags, but at the site, volunteer opportunities are currently curtailed. That means that repacking, sorting and distribution falls onto the shoulders of the nine employees.
Prior to Covid-19, the Food Bank provided meals to about 110,000 local residents and about half were children. Last year, the nonprofit served more than 200,000 people, which was distributed to 55 member agencies — and Rankin is expecting local needs to continue to grow.
In addition to helping homebound seniors and families with children, the Food Bank provides staples to college students, those who have lost jobs, veterans and unhoused individuals.
“This generous Rotary Club gift will go directly towards bulk purchases of fresh produce and other healthy staples,” Rankin said. He also noted that three Pacific Palisades residents are on the Westside Food Bank board: Bruce Rosen, Jocelyn Cortese and Rosie Strickland. (Visit: wsfb.org)
Rotary District Governor Bette Hall and assistant governor Will Wishard were on hand last Friday to watch as the Palisades club presented its check to Rankin.
Rotary is an international service organization that brings together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services. There are 34,282 clubs worldwide and 1.2 million members. To join, visit: https://portal.clubrunner.ca/2531).