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Foodbank in Solvang fills growing need in Santa Ynez Valley

Foodbank at Bethania Lutheran Church in Solvang
Brayton Metzger/KEYT
The Bethania Lutheran Church in Solvang, CA has been operating for over a year. Since March, 2020 the church has handed out over 60,000 meals to those in need.

SOLVANG, Calif. -- The food distribution site at the Bethania Lutheran Church in Solvang has served the community for over a year.

It is a big accomplishment for the all-volunteer operation, but their work is more important now than ever.

According to Linda Marzullo, the program coordinator for the food distribution program at the church, the need for programs like Bethania Lutheran's is only growing.

"When people who work the fields have to come here to get food when they're picking the food for us, that is crazy," she said.

The distribution site receives donations from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County as well as nonprofits.

"We also receive donations from Veggie Rescue," said Marzullo, referencing the nonprofit which gleans fruits and veggies from local farms and delivers within 24 hours to local nonprofit distribution sites.

"For example, our lettuce we have today is from Veggie Rescue," she said. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara combined with organizations like Veggie Rescue provide a large percentage of the food distributed at Bethania Lutheran Church.

Another important factor is volunteers who show up early every Tuesday to prepare the food boxes and distribute them from 5:15pm until the line is empty.

One of those volunteers is Mr. Zorro May, a retired hand bookbinder who delivers meals to over 18 families every single week.

"You know, four out of ten households have hunger issues in this country," he said as he shook his head in disbelief, "In the greatest country in the world."

The Bethania Lutheran Church estimates it has delivered over 60,000 meals since they began operating in March of 2020.

The church accepts donations in person or on their website. Every single penny goes towards putting food in boxes for those in need.

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Brayton Metzger

I am a photographer, videographer, and occasionally a multimedia journalist for KEYT in Santa Barbara.


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