Through the years, members of the First Presbyterian Church Of Newhall’s congregation have been finding ways to take their outreach efforts international, but when the pandemic hit, it was their local community they focused on.
“This pandemic has caused tremendous hardship for families in this valley,” Chuck Schultz, elder of the missions committee at the church, said, “and we just saw a great need.”
The missions committee at the church, which is comprised of volunteers, youth and other congregants, often looks for ways to focus on the needs of people around them, Schultz added.
“We like to get out there and be active,” Schultz said. “There’s trouble all over the world, but trouble here as well.”
That’s why the church decided to hold monthly food drives for Santa Clarita Grocery, a local nonprofit that supports local citizens in need of groceries.
“In January, we were serving about 162 families a month, and now we’re at over 850 just from this facility,” said Bradley Grose, founder of Santa Clarita Grocery. “Our average family is about 4.5 individuals, … so we’re now distributing about six tons of food a week.”
The church has now held three drives, donating dozens of bins full of canned and dried goods each time.
And for Santa Clarita Grocery, it’s finding a balance between supply and demand that has allowed them to keep serving the SCV’s residents.
“Being that our demand has increased so much, it’s been amazing how food drives, like the one that First Presbyterian of Newhall are doing, help,” Grose said. “It has got us through in a remarkable way because on each of their food drives, they’ve brought an entire trailer filled with canned and dried goods. I think it’s equivalent to 50 banana boxes filled with food, which is huge.”
Beyond that, the nonprofit has also received financial contributions from the church’s drive, which helps to pay for the increased utilities.
“That being said, their financial contribution and that area of food that they’re capturing for us is just exactly what we’ve needed,” Grose added. “They have been so supportive, and … they’re the nicest people to work with as well, so we couldn’t be more grateful.”
As the drives have gone on, the church has been getting an increased response, according to Schultz, and plans to continue hosting them every month.
“As long as there’s a need, we’re going to be out there collecting,” Schultz said. “We want to help in any way we can.”
The First Presbyterian Church Of Newhall’s food drives are scheduled 10 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of every month at the church, located at 24317 Newhall Ave.
Most needed donations include nonperishable groceries and hygiene products, while those who wish to donate monetarily can also do so online via credit card at santaclaritagrocery.org.