Across the globe and right here in our very own community, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many individuals in challenging financial times. Some of our families have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay rent, put groceries on the table and just keep up with daily financial responsibilities.
To help meet this need the Loaves and Fishes ministry, led by longtime parishioners and Parish Leader Council Member Cookie Barthel, come up with the idea to start a Food Pantry at St Mark Church to fulfill this community need. Father Albert van der Woerd immediately supported the idea and provided all the resources needed to start including giving up two garage spaces of the Parish to set up the Food Pantry.
St Mark Church partnered with Nourish LA, a Culver City non-profit organization, to get sources of food across Los Angeles. Our school parents and teachers, staff and parishioners step up to volunteer, fundraised and contributed wherever was needed.
The Food Pantry opened its doors on October 3rd, 2020 and since then it welcomes 300 families every Saturday from 11am. to 1pm. through a drive-thru and walk-in system set up on the parking lot of St Mark Church. A parallel system of delivering food to the elderly and people with disabilities was established. 30 families are served every week with the help of tireless volunteers who drive through Venice, Culver City, Mar Vista and Westchester neighborhoods.
Every Saturday St Mark Food Pantry serves 1,300 people and distributes around 15k-16k pounds of food. Since opened, the St Mark Food Pantry has helped over 15,000 people and distributed more than 118,000 lbs. of food to families and people who are suffering of food insecurity.
If you would like to know more about St Mark Food Pantry or how to participate, please contact us at [email protected]
This solidarity work could not be possible without the help of dozens of volunteers, who each week donate their time to distribute the food and serve the families that need it most. If you wish to participate, click the button below to check volunteer options and register to serve. We are following all the safety protocols pertaining to COVID-19.