Four nonprofit organizations that feed the homeless and the hungry in the San Gorgonio Pass were selected to receive more than 42,000 pounds of food, thanks to a donation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last week.
Side by Side Humanitarian, Table of Plenty, HELP Inc. and Carol’s Kitchen were the beneficiaries of a truckload of food driven to Beaumont from the church’s storehouse in Utah on Jan. 16.
Kevin Bowers, of Side By Side, Al Silva of HELP, Don Smith and Larry Apodaca of Table of Plenty, and Vince and Kathy Conway of Carol’s Kitchen were at the Carol’s Kitchen warehouse to receive the food on Thursday morning.
Yucaipa California stake president Darryl Cartozian represented the church and said that the food came from the Bishop Storehouse in Salt Lake City.
The facility is 520,000 square feet.
Kirk Draper, the church’s regional manager and self-reliance services manager in San Diego, notified Cartozian of the need for food donations.
Leslie Johnson, Just Serve coordinator, said she talked with the four organizations and ensured they would be there for the food distribution.
Cartozian said that the 42,000 pounds of food is equivalent to 20 tons.
The humorous aspect of the donation is that the driver left Salt Lake City late Wednesday evening and was expected to arrive in Beaumont at 11 a.m.
Well, he was still on Mountain Time and made it to the warehouse at 9:40 a.m.
Warehouse manager Todd Chevis was surprised by the premature arrival and called the Conways to get to the warehouse earlier.
The Conways got there in time to unload the shipment with volunteers.
A business right across the way, DRB Sales, loaned one of its forklifts and a driver to unload the pallets, Cartozian said.
The shipment included spaghetti, green beans, pancake mix, flour, rice and beans, among other non-perishable items.
Bowers was looking at the boxes and said that his organization’s need is different from the others in that they do not serve hot meals — they distribute food to those in need.
“We’ll probably take less than the kitchens,” said Bowers.
Side by Side does quarterly distributions and the next one is in February.
Those that they serve are identified by the Beaumont Unified School District and the Palm Springs Unified School District.
Bowers said the shipment was perfect for his organization.
Silva said that HELP has been providing meals for the hungry in the Pass area since 1982.
Their main delivery is from the USDA on Mondays.
“We serve a little over 850 families a month,” Silva said.
Don Smith and Larry Apodaca were representing Table of Plenty and were checking out the canned goods, pasta, green beans, and flour, stew and pancake mix.
“We’re looking at about two pallets,’’ Apodaca said.
Smith said that the food will be placed in Table of Plenty’s pantry, which is given away on the days that the public arrives for meals.
The pantry food will last about two weeks, Apodaca said.
“We’re very generous,” Apodaca said.
Cartozian said that the church appreciates the opportunity to provide food to those in need.
“It’s always good to be able to help others and it’s a blessing to them as well as us,” he said.
Although this is the first time that the church has helped in the Pass area, it will not be the last, Cartozian said.
“I could see this happening again,” he said.
Conway, president of Carol’s Kitchen, agreed. “Well, we would be very appreciative if this happened again,” he said.
Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette or by calling (951) 849-4586.