The West Valley Food Pantry (WVFP) began in 1975 as a small closet located in the kitchen of
Prince of Peace Episcopal Church (POP). The Rector at the time, Rev. Jess Taylor, began the program
by asking the POP parishioners to supply the pantry with canned goods. This small pantry (and small
staff consisting mainly of Margaret Shively, the church secretary) provided food to three to five
families a week over the course of several years.
In 1985, Clem Matzen, a retired social worker and member of POP, developed the idea of getting other
churches and synagogues to join in the effort of feeding the local hungry in the West Valley. Clem
gathered ten other churches and synagogues into the formal coalition which is the West Valley Food
Pantry. Creating a coalition enabled the WVFP to obtain food from the LA food bank at a substantial
discount and to supplement the pantry shelves with cost-free government food contributions.
Other organizations have added their support to the WVFP. The San Fernando Valley chapter of the National
Charity League (NCL) began supporting the Pantry over 25 years ago and is today one of the Pantry's
largest contributors. NCL mother-daughter teams work as volunteers directly with the clients and for
special programs like Christmas gifts. The coalition decided to partner with the Family Rescue Center
(Rescate) in Canoga Park around 1998. As out sister pantry, Rescate distributes food received from WVFP
as well as other services to many Spanish-speaking clients.
Today, the WVFP has over 200 volunteers serving about about 2-1/2 hours, 1 day a month. They purchase
or take delivery of food shipments, stock shelves, validate client eligibility, maintain distribution
records, shop for specials, buy and pick up food, as well as assist in the daily distribution. We serve
twelve zip codes that cover the West San Fernando Valley. Our efforts are made possible by the contributions
of both food and money we receive from the local community and our coalition members. Donations are always
welcome as we strive to ensure that "No one goes away hungry".