East Bay News

Concord food pantry holds eighth anniversary party

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The number of families turning to food pantries for help is increasing in this challenging economy. The Monument Crisis Center in Contra Costa County is one agency providing that invaluable service and it's celebrating an important anniversary.

It was an eighth anniversary party for a center that started small and then grew tremendously, out of necessity to meet the exploding needs of the community it serves.

When the Monument Crisis Center opened eight years ago, executive director Sandra Scherer never imagined it would grow like it has.

"When we started it was very small, 84 families and now it's 9,500 families that have registered here and received help," said Scherer.

In many ways, that growth is a sign of the bad economic times, but also an example of the center's commitment to serving all the needs of the local community. A chef who was recently laid off, Rigo Ramos says the center has helped him in many ways.

"These people are helping me to give me a job, and also helping me with some food for my family," said Ramos.

Norell Wheeler is a service provider for another local non-profit that uses Monument's services to help its clients. She says the population in need has evolved over the years.

"It's changed dramatically because of the economy and because, I guess you could say, the crisis with the struggles for people to make it now a days with income," said Wheeler.

The crisis center wouldn't be what it is today without the dedication of its staff and countless volunteers who've worked here through the years.

"I wanted to help people get fed and clothed. Whatever the need is, I wanted to help provide it here," said Tina Mayberry, a volunteer.

"Who else is going to do it? If the people who have can't help the people who have not, we are a very sad, unfortunate world I think," said Sandy Peter, a volunteer.

Nallely Marquez was one of monument's very first volunteers in 2003. She was 10 years old when she began translating for Spanish-speaking clients.

"I love the center. I love helping here. The things you learn, the people you meet...just so many great things here," said Marquez.

The center has grown so much over the years they're now looking for a larger facility. When asked what she hopes for in the coming years, executive director Sandra Scherer said she looks forward to a day when the number of helpers and volunteers exceeds the number of people who need help.

If you would like to make a donation, contact:
Monument Crisis Center
2350 Monument Blvd, Suite B
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 825-7751
www.monumentcrisiscenter.org

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
contra costa county, concord, hunger, food, east bay news, laura anthony
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