WHO WE ARE AND HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In 1973 the Ministerial Assc. of the Five-Cities area asked a group of women from the area Churches to host a “World Day of Prayer.” This is an ecumenical event that is celebrated worldwide in March every year.
Because of this, bonds were formed and the ladies decided that it would be nice to meet socially once a month. After a while of this, they thought that they should be doing something more than just socializing. Thus, Five Cities Christian women’s group, consisting of only four ladies, was formed. Their mission was to feed the needy, and to provide layettes, through Social Services for new mothers.
One of the original members , Edna Gilbert, offered her single car garage to store and distribute the food. In those days, feeding about seven families was the maximum. At that time, the food was delivered to the clients. As the need became greater in the community, a new location was needed. Bethel Baptist Church in Grover Beach offered a room in their Church, where we remained for six years. After that, Central Coast Baptist Church also in Grover Beach offered to clear a spot at their location for our outreach. There we remained until 1998. Then the Church began to grow in membership and needed to expand and it was time to find a new location.
After about a year of uncertainty and trying to line up a new facility, the members of the Kiwanis Club of Pismo Beach suggested that they construct for us, a building of our own. With their help and that of the community, and the offer of use of their land for a place to construct the building from Central Coast Baptist Church, we were able to open our doors in October of 1998.
We are all unpaid volunteers. Donations of food come from local Super Markets. With monetary donations from Churches, individuals and other groups we purchase food from the Food Coalition at a reduced price and Farmer’s Markets. We also look for sales at the various stores throughout the county and in the Santa Maria area. There are in the group shoppers, a morning crew that stocks the shelves, workers that work in the afternoon, between 2 and 4 P.M. to distribute the food. In the event we have surplus food, or non-food donations we share with other agencies.
From those early beginnings of four ladies, working to supply food to only seven families, we now serve an average 600 families, totaling approximately 2,500 individuals per month. Our ranks have grown also, we now have eighty to one hundred volunteers, including men. Our expenditures per month for this ministry is $2,000.00 to over $3,000.00.
We are open five days a week, Two to four p.m., with the exception of Holidays. Clients may come twice a month and are given, eggs, butter, fresh vegetables and fruit, when we have them, canned when we run out. Whatever meat we have. Cereal, peanut butter and plentiful bread for everyone. Also, dry staples such as rice or beans are given. Basically, we give of what we have and what is needed. The goal is that each family has protein, fresh produce and Bread
Christmas boxes with food and toys for the children are given out to those who signup. About 50 to 60 such baskets are prepared. At one time we had a group of ladies called the Joy Singers who would go to Wyndom Residence and the Arroyo Grande Care Center to sing for and with the residents. Stories and devotionals were also read.
Layettes are still put together for the new mothers. The Quilter’s Guild often donates quilts to us for that purpose also.