Sunday, March 08, 2009
The Big Pick: Benefitting Jewish Family Service/SOVA Food Pantries
So what do you do if you have over 400 trees full of ripe oranges and want to donate to a local food bank. Russ Lyon of Chatsworth had this problem and asked Rick Nahmias, a social documentarian film-maker focusing on food and agriculture, for ideas. The two of them realized that SOVA, a program of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, that operates major food pantries in Los Angeles could easily distribute the oranges once picked. Rick realized this called for a ready group of volunteers so he reached out to Slow Food-LA, as a social action project. Thus, on Sunday, March 8, more than 60 people showed up on short notice for either a morning or afternoon shift, or both to pick Valenica oranges in the San Fernando Valley. Many more offered their services, but only so many could be brought into this gated Chatsworth community. By noon almost 2 tons of oranges had been picked and loaded onto the JFS SOVA truck. It was expected that over 4 tons of oranges would be picked by 4 pm. This event caught the attention of ABC TV Los Angeles, the Daily News, and Caitlan Carroll with National Public Radio's Marketplace which will be aired this week. Here is a link to the Big Pick pictures I took during the morning before I headed out to catch the Sunday Studio City Farmer Market to support our local farmers before it closed.
An event like this is of major importance to SOVA and JFSLA in time of rising unemployment, decreasing funding for social service programs, and economic uncertainty for those who support social service organizations. The 4 tons of food collected today will be given out by SOVA over the next 10 days. SOVA operates three food pantries for those in need to get groceries. JFSLA is the oldest social service agency dating back to the 1850's and serves everyone who needs help. Both SOVA and Slow Food-LA hope to do this again with others who don't have a way to harvest their trees or produce and are looking for an outlet for their produce. As an individual who just has a fruit tree in their backyard, LA food pantries will always accept such donations.
If you would like to provide monetary assistance to help JFSLA and SOVA feed those in need, then one can give to JFSLA/SOVA online here.