Generosity, kindness and goodwill were in abundance Monday morning as members of the community provided food and more to the underprivileged at the Holy Family Catholic Church Giving Bank just in time for Christmas.
Marlene Moore, the director of Life, Justice and Peace at the South Pasadena church on Fremont Avenue, recognized the local volunteers by saying: “I would like to thank our parishioners and friends who generously continue to donate and make all this possible.”
More than 230 individuals received a pork roast for their holiday meal along with produce, bread and dairy products.
“But to top it off,” exclaimed former South Pasadena Mayor Bob Joe, who was busy contributing his time at the event, “They were all given a Pavilions $50 gift card!”
As the food was handed out, among the comments Joe heard from the church’s clients, as they are referred by organizers, were phrases like “I love you,” “Oh my gosh,” and “We can have a special holiday meal!”
Not only is the Giving Bank open during the holiday season but most Mondays throughout the year. In addition, a mobile unit is set up on the church’s grounds Wednesdays, providing a place for those in need to take a shower.
South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti, who is a Holy Family Church parishioner, was among those working at the food bank this week, and weekly, for that matter, when the large group came through the line thankful for his and others willing to lend a hand.
“This kind of thing I’ve been doing all my life,” said Cacciotti, explaining that over the years he’s also given time to Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to the less fortunate, and Life Love is Feeding Everyone, an organization known as LIFE, which brings hope to the homeless population through a number of services.
Now part of the Holy Family Giving Bank volunteer team, he says it’s an opportunity “to help people in our community, from Pasadena, Alhambra and Los Angeles – cities all around us – along with many people in South Pasadena who are barely making it, or where something has happened financially in their life and they’re facing economic difficult times.”
Cacciotti and others sort out items and help pack them into shopping carts before they are wheeled to a client’s car.
“We provide a whole week’s worth of food,” he said, noting that many of the items come from area markets that otherwise would be thrown into the landfill. “It’s no longer salable but edible. It’s a great feeling knowing people will appreciate it and not go hungry. I’m compassionate and enjoy helping others in and around our community who are struggling at this time.”