When you think of homecoming, what comes to mind? Is it high school, football games and dances? For others it might be the opportunity to return somewhere they once called home. For me, it’s a bit of both.
I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley—Canoga Park to be exact. I went to elementary school in Winnetka, and junior and senior high school in North Hills (Los Angeles Baptist). I also had the opportunity as a kid growing up to distribute food to those in need because that’s what my parents modeled.
I left the San Fernando Valley 25 years ago, and to be honest, I never imagined that I would be back after the adventures I have been on. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest where it does indeed rain too much but has an amazing beauty to it. Also, the Central Coast of California (God’s Country) on two different stints with an adventure to the U.K. for five years in between that time on the coast. Through all of this, SFV was never on my mind.
It’s funny how we plan our ways but God directs our steps, and after 25 years I now find myself having another homecoming. This time, coming back to a place I once called home to work alongside the greatest team of staff and volunteers in Pacoima. My name is Jeremiah Booth, and I’m honored and privileged to be the new director of the Valley Food Bank.
I love change, but I didn’t always. Thankfully through all the experiences I’ve had in leadership in Costco for 14 years and ministry as a pastor for another 15 years, I have always been surrounded by great leaders. One thing that can be said about all the success that I have seen in businesses and churches is that change is essential for any organization to keep moving forward. That’s exactly what we are aiming to do here as a team at the Valley Food Bank.
I love that we get to serve and help nearly 6,000 families and 20,000-plus individuals a month. But something inside me says we can do more! After all, nearly 2 million people live in this Valley. So many of them are well below the poverty line and recent inflation is making things harder on all families everywhere.
To help move forward, we are looking to not only strengthen our current pantries, but also start new ones in cities that don’t currently have one. We’re partnering with a new agency that will be able to supply us with 20 pallets of food every week to begin with. We’ve increased our volunteer base at the Food Bank to help process everything coming in.
But with all of these great changes come challenges, and the team here is ready to conquer any that come our way. We have an amazing opportunity here at the Valley Food Bank to rise to meet those challenges to help more families, and to help provide during these difficult times to the food insecure in Los Angeles.
If you’re thinking of getting involved and making an impact in our communities, visit valleyfoodbank. org to sign up to volunteer or donate. If you’ve never had the chance to take a tour, I would love to give you one. Give me a call at 818-474-1299 to arrange a tour today! Together we can move forward and make a difference that may change someone’s eternity.
Blessings, Jeremiah Booth