Manny states, “The Valley Food Bank has changed the lives of many of the people in our community. Money that was once spent on food can now be allocated to other household needs. The demographic that has been the most affected has been that of our homeless friends. They have witnessed the quantity and quality of food designated to their programs dramatically increase.”
He continues, “Prior to collaborating with the Valley Food Bank, North Valley Caring Services (NVCS) counted almost exclusively on a yearly post office donation of 20,000 pounds of dry goods that were expected to last an entire year. As wonderful as this donation is, NVCS could only ration out 80 grocery bags of food a month to 40 ESL (English as a second language) students. Now, because of the partnership with the Valley Food Bank, NVCS dispenses an average 20,000 pounds of food each week! That means, each week, about 200 families receive fresh produce, dairy products, meats, eggs, dry goods, and cereal. Routinely, I call on the Valley Food Bank to support a program or event and, dependably, the answer is “yes, why not.”
“I am a former gang member as well as an ex-convict who served 20 years in California’s toughest prisons. It took 10 years into my sentence for God to call me back to the fold. A series of debilitating circumstances brought me to my knees and caused me to submit my life to Him entirely. No longer would I squander God’s grace and mercy! Instead, my response to this overwhelming demonstration of love was a vow to serve God, as He would allow me. When I was paroled in 2013, with college and seminary preparation, I thought I could easily land a job in ministry or social services. Unfortunately, my criminal record was too extensive for most to overlook. That is, except for the Executive Director at NVCS who hired me as their Community Liaison. He saw potential and was willing to take a chance on me,” Manny testifies.
“North Valley is a community service center in one of the San Fernando Valley’s most impoverished and violent communities. The goal is to improve a quality of life for those who live in this neighborhood. They provide free services such as ESL classes with free childcare, as well as an afterschool program. The breakfast program feeds and provides showers to hundreds individuals each month.”
“The food is not the end of this story. Because of the generous donations of Valley Food Bank and all of their contributors, we get the opportunity to reach out to people, get to know them, and minister to their spiritual needs. I am blessed to work with the Valley Food Bank and at NVCS where God’s grace and mercy can be seen on display on a daily basis.” ~ Manny Flores