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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Local Heroes, Sebastopol, Sonoma County

Little Red Hen Prevents Crisis at Sebastopol Pantry

By Cecile Lusby
While winter food supplies are uncertain, Fall, 2008 brought a temporary bailout for Sebastopol’s Pantry. September and October presented stark challenges to its operations. Not only were there more people needing help with food, but the amount of cash in the treasury dropped along with the economy. Fortunately a new philanthropic agency reversed that trend.

The Kiwanis Club and local Real Estate agencies held food drives dedicated to helping the Pantry. The Kiwanis began a new effort to gather food on November 22, the Saturday before Thanksgiving in order to help West County households celebrate. A few days later the Sebastopol Realtors held their annual food drive on November 26th to stock up the food supplies for the rest of the season.

On November 19th this writer worked with one other volunteer to give groceries to households representing a total of 69 people in two hours. Then the Treasurer, Diana Godwin, walked in with the good news.

The Little Red Hen Foundation, had just donated $15, 000 at a time when the Pantry’s coffers were nearly empty. The secretary’s duties involve sending thank you notes for all donations, and so we sent one to an address in Sebastopol. A Google search produced some tracks and traces of this heretofore-unknown group. ‘Little Red Hen’ has a history of mysterious good works and the Internet produced very little specific history; in the last few years The Little Red Hen Foundation has donated to the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Social Advocated for Youth in our County.

It takes several thousands of dollars each month for the Sebastopol Interchurch Pantry
to serve all our clients. We used to help about five hundred people monthly, and now it is more much more (see November 19). The mortgage crisis and inflated prices of groceries have produced record numbers of local people unable to feed their families through the second half of the month. By the end of December, the Pantry stores were depleted again.

The Interchurch Pantry of Sebastopol would like to publicly thank and acknowledge the Kiwanis Club, Sebastopol Realtors Thanksgiving Food Drive and The Little Red Hen Foundation. We function with the cooperation of several Sebastopol Churches: St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Community Church of Sebastopol, Sebastopol United Methodist, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, and Sebastopol Christian Church.

We hope that the good people of West Sonoma County will remember their neighbors this season and in the coming year, 2009 and send donations as they are able to The Sebastopol Interchurch Pantry, c/o Diana Godwin, Treasurer, 500 Robinson Road, Sebastopol, CA, 95473.

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