Valladares to honor SCV Food Pantry as district’s nonprofit of the year

Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry volunteers move donated food at the pantry in Newhall on Saturday, 041721. Dan Watson/The Signal

Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, has selected the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry as her district’s nonprofit organization of the year. 

James Espinoza, director of the SCV Food Pantry, said Valladares’ office told him in late July that his nonprofit would receive the honor for the 38th District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Simi valleys and parts of the San Fernando Valley. 

“We greatly appreciate it,” said Espinoza in a phone interview with The Signal. “We couldn’t have gotten this award without the current volunteers, donors and partners. This award really is for them.” 

The Food Pantry has served the SCV for 35 years, said Espinoza, and faced many challenges during those three-and-a-half decades. 

“The pandemic has taken these challenges to the next level,” he said. “It reduced our volunteer participation, our donations.”  

Espinoza thanked the volunteers and donors who stayed committed to the pantry’s mission during the pandemic. 

“We definitely need more volunteers like them and donors and partners like them to help us address food insecurity in our community,” he said.   

Valladares will visit the SCV Food Pantry on Friday, Aug. 20, at 1:30 p.m. to formally recognize Espinoza and his team during a ceremony. 

“The Food Pantry has worked diligently and humbly to alleviate hunger in our community for 35 years, and their volunteers worked especially hard during the COVID-19 shutdown to make sure no one went hungry,” Valladares said in a prepared statement. 

The ceremony will take place at the rear of the SCV Food Pantry building located at 24133 Railroad Ave. 

“Working with organizations throughout our community, the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry is working to meet the future hunger needs of our neighbors by ensuring self-sufficiency,” she said. “Their commitment to the community is genuine, and they are more than worthy of our recognition and our gratitude.” 

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