The Pierce College Farm Center is partnering again this year with the non-profit organization Meeting Each Need with Dignity (MEND) to donate food to those without homes.
Robert McBroom, director of the Farm Center, spoke about how they became involved in 2009 as they looked for a program like MEND that distributes food and other necessities to those in need in the community.
“It was an obvious choice,” said McBroom. “Especially when there are other areas in the local community that aren’t our customers and they’re not coming this far but who can benefit from really good, healthy, wholesome food and vegetables.”
MEND picks up Pierce’s produce every Thursday morning and allows the surrounding communities to take advantage of the programs offered through them like dental, vision and clothing distribution services.
Along with bags of food such as those provided by Pierce, MEND offers cooking classes to those with diabetes to educate members on how to maintain a healthier lifestyle and incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets.
Food Bank director and chef, Richard Weinroth, said that they receive around 1000 pounds of produce every year.
“I love Robert. I think it’s unfair that there aren’t more places like Pierce,” he said. “I can’t imagine anyone else being there. What he’s done is nothing short of amazing.”
The center helps individuals and families with various needs such as fitness classes like Zumba and Yoga at the center to raise awareness among members about obesity, making it more convenient by keeping everything in a centralized location.
“I love to be a part of something that truly helps people that need it,” said Weinroth.
Part-time volunteer Anabell Martinez has worked in the food department with MEND for the past four months, commuting from North Hollywood to the center in Pacoima four times a week. Taking the bus has cost her an estimated six dollars a day, she said, but she always finds a way to cover the cost and volunteer.
“I feel like I wouldn’t want to do anything else. It pays off to see everyone happy,” said Martinez.
She enjoys her time spent at MEND knowing that her hard work is going toward helping others who are in need.
Tiffany Clarke, a MEND member who has used their services since Oct 2013, said she came across the program after her mom mentioned it to her.
Since she is currently in the process of moving to Palmdale, Clarke said she is hoping to find a MEND location closer to her new address but is willing to commute to Pacoima if necessary.
“They help with all aspects and don’t discriminate,” she said. “They provide you with so many things that you can take with you.”