FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved funding for a “mobile pantry” that will be operated by West Valley Community Services (WVCS), a nonprofit agency based in Cupertino. Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian proposed the funding, with support from Supervisor Mike Wasserman. The measure was approved unanimously.
"The simplest way to describe it is, it’s a bookmobile for groceries,” said Simitian, “but it’s so much more than that. It’ll bring food, services, and support to the folks who need it most, right there in their own communities.”
The mobile pantry will bring groceries, necessities, and supportive services to seniors and low income residents in Saratoga, Los Gatos, and West San Jose. Clients will be able to pick up fresh food and staples such as rice, beans, and canned and dried goods in easy to reach locations.
The pantry will be staffed by workers from WVCS who can provide case management and referral services, such as help navigating MediCal or food stamp enrollment. It will operate throughout the area at locations such as West Valley College and Westhope Presbyterian Church.
The program will be funded at $157,948 annually for three years. The County funding will support staffing, maintenance, and operation of the vehicle. West Valley Community Services received a donated RV from Second Harvest Food Bank that will be used as the mobile pantry.
WVCS provides the most vital and basic services to the community’s neediest individuals and families in an effort to fight hunger and homelessness in the west valley region. In the most recent fiscal year, WVCS served just over 8,000 individuals from Los Gatos, Cupertino, Saratoga, and San Jose, the bulk of which were served at the Cupertino headquarters.
“We’re blessed to have such exceptional supportive services in this County,” said Simitian, “but for seniors or low income residents who can’t get reliable transportation, those services are essentially unavailable. This will bring those essential programs to the folks who need them most, in places they can get to.”
“Partnering with West Valley Community Services this way helps makes government more responsive; and for seniors, it’s a way to help them age safely and securely in their homes,” said Simitian.
“West Valley Community Services serves a large geographic area, and we began to see a lot of our clients struggling to get to our office in Cupertino due to transportation issues, work schedules, or family obligations,” said Josh Selo, Executive Director of West Valley Community Services. “We saw the potential for a mobile pantry to alleviate these challenges by helping people in the community in which they live and work.”
“The surest way to make certain people in need get the food and services they need is to bring the food and services to them,” said Simitian. “Whether it’s putting food on the table, finding housing, or looking for a job, this program will make it easier for folks to get the help they need.”