With the largest food drive in the world canceled due to the pandemic, the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry has found its shelves looking emptier than usual at this time of year.
“Right now, we’re trying to make up for the National Letter Carriers food drive that didn’t happen in May,” the pantry’s Executive Director Susan Caputo said. “That normally carries us through the end of the year, and hopefully that will happen towards the end of the year, but since it didn’t, we’re trying to play catch-up with all the things we didn’t get from that.”
When members of the Santa Clarita Valley Corvette Club, a nonprofit that’s supported the food pantry for a number of years, heard about the need, they got to work planning a food drive, partnering with Sam’s Club to provide a space.
“The virus slowed us down, but we’re trying to stay active, stay together and help out,” club President Mike Woodings said.
On Saturday, the club set up some of their Corvettes near the entrance of Sam’s Club, enticing shoppers to come up for a peek before members handed them a flier, asking for contributions.
“We’d talk to them going in, give them a flier and ask if they can maybe share an item on the way out,” Woodings added. “It was just an overwhelming response from customers. I couldn’t believe how much stuff they were passing off to us as they were exiting. Some would come out with a cart-load of stuff (to donate).”
After the day was over, Corvette Club members had filled their truck along with numerous cars, needing to call in reinforcements to pack their haul before delivering it to the food pantry on Monday.
“We would not be able to continue on and serve our clients without the help of the community, so we’re extremely grateful that we live in such a very generous community,” Caputo added.
The pantry has had its hands full since the pandemic began, and Caputo predicts it’ll continue for the foreseeable future, and said she is thankful for organizations like the Corvette Club that make a huge difference in weathering the storm.
Meanwhile, club members are already talking about their next food drive.
“There’s several Corvette clubs around Southern California, so we’re thinking we might do this on a grander scale,” Woodings added.
The SCV Food Pantry is located at 24133 Railroad Ave. in Newhall. Donations, such as canned soups, meats, fruits, dry beans, rice and peanut butter, are still needed.
Emily Alvarenga covers features and business for The Signal. She's been at the paper for nearly three years now and has spent that time getting to know the Santa Clarita Valley, its residents and their unique stories. Have a story to share? Reach out to Emily at [email protected].