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Turkey Drive: Grover Beach food pantry helping provide assistance to hundreds of people weekly

Five Christian Women's Food Pantry
Rita Kaser (left) receives food from Marlene Jeung (right) at the Five Christian Women's Food Pantry on November 9, 2022. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

GROVER BEACH, Calif. -- A longtime Grover Beach food pantry is providing much-needed assistance to people in need who live in the Five Cities area.

For 49 years, the Five Cities Christian Women have operated a food pantry, helping out community members that are battling food insecurity.

The food pantry has moved around through the years, but currently is located at 946 Rockaway Ave, Grover Beach and is open Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"This is service for the community," said Marlene Jeung, Five Cities Christian Women Co-President. "We're supported by 17 churches and service organizations, so it's a whole community effort to keep this pantry going."

According to Jeung, the pantry serves about 35 people each day, totalling more 150 families each week.

Clients are allowed to pick up food once a week and are given an array of items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, plus a bag of groceries that usually includes a dozen eggs, margarine, pasta, soup, and other items. 

"They get us through," said client Rita Kisar. "We hardly buy any groceries. I mean, they have saved us. My brother and I are both so, so grateful. It's helping us survive. We're actually surviving by the help they give us."

The food pantry is one of dozens of partner agencies that work in coordination with SLO Food Bank to help combat food insecurity.

"The SLO Food Bank's mission is to truly alleviate though a network of community partners, and so we have three main ways that we distribute food in our agency partners, which is a network of over 85 nonprofits in the county are truly what allow us to serve and reach the most people in need," said Branna Still, SLO Food Bank Development Director. "Five Cities Christian Women is an amazing organization that runs an amazing panty operation, their volunteers are fantastic, and they allow us to really further assist that live in the Five Cities area."

Food Bank clients, including those who use the Five Cities Christian Women Food Pantry, are able to receive holiday meal items through the News Channel 12 Turkey Drive.

Still said this year's fundraiser is even more impactful due to a number of financial hardships that are greatly stretching pocketbooks.

"We are all feeling the inflation," said Still. "Turkey prices are through the roof. You couple that with an increase in rent, an increase in fuel and energy prices, and now you have a real dilemma, and so many of us can celebrate the holiday season, but some of us are not so lucky, and so when you support the SLO Food Bank and the News Channel 12 Turkey Drive, you're allowing us to sprea

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Turkey Drive will hold four donation sites where the public can donate a turkey, non-perishable food, or financial contributions.

Donations collected in San Luis Obispo County, at California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach, Albertsons in Paso Robles and SLO Food Bank will directly assist SLO Food Bank Clients.

Those collected in Santa Barbara County will directly benefit Good Samaritan clients, as well as other local non-profit organizations.

Santa Barbara County locations for the Turkey Drive will be the News Channel 12 Santa Maria office, as well as Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Lompoc.

On-site donations will be accepted from 6 a.m. to 7 pm.

Financial donations can be made anytime by visiting the Turkey Drive website. Donors can choose to contribute to either Good Samaritan or SLO Food Bank.

For more information about the News Channel 12 Turkey Drive, or to donate, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Community

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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