Casa Youth ShelterCommunity

Our Community Partner Casa Youth Shelter

On any given day in the U.S., thousands of teens go homeless and hungry. Too often, youth reach a breaking point, unable to face another day of school bullying, parental abuse, stress–or hunger. Yet when we think of homeless people, our minds often form the image of an older male adult curled up on a sidewalk or a park bench. Shockingly, 34% of homeless people in the U.S. are actually under 24 years of age. This is why Casa Youth Shelter right here in our own community is such a significant, often lifesaving, resource.

The shelter houses 12 youth (aged 12 to 17) when at capacity, and in addition to offering a safe harbor and hot meals, they provide group activities, peer interaction, and counseling services for both the youth and parents. Ideally, after spending time at the shelter, the residents return to their families or move on to a safe, crisis-free living situation. While at the shelter they are on a temporary break from school, focusing on improving their situation and receiving the help they need. Some former residents continue with counseling services, and the services are offered remotely to nonresidents as well.

Recently, there has been a change in the typical resident profile, according to Josue Montenegro, a 7-year staff member. Many of the youth seeking safe harbor are transgender and have been rejected, bullied, and abused by family and friends. For them particularly, a place to find support and to reset is essential. And it comes as no surprise that in this past year during the pandemic, teen depression and anxiety have skyrocketed, so Casa Youth has been an invaluable haven.

Food Rescue Helps Homeless With Meals

Food Finders has been partnered with the shelter for 20 years and donates wholesome food twice a week. The staff prepares meals, sometimes engaging and teaching the residents cooking skills, and generally ensures that everyone receives a healthy meal. Any excess donated food is made available via an onsite pantry, free to area families or youth in need.

Food Finders is so grateful to count Casa Youth Shelter as one of our many partners that help serve our local communities. Thank you for all you do!

Updated Study on Homeless by the Chamber of Commerce

Read more about homelessness:

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate


Never Doubt Your Impact

There are many ways to make an impact on the world. Unfortunately, with all the messages being thrown at us via TV and social media, we begin to think that what we do as an individual isn’t that important.

At Food Finders, we can absolutely, without any reservations, tell you that one person can make a huge impact when working alongside others who believe in the same mission. For 33 years, this organization has been growing. From one idea, in one garage, with one woman who shared her mission with others. That power of one–with your help–fed thousands of families this month.

Arlene Mercer, founder of Food Finders

Think About the Entire Process Behind Our Mission

Eliminating Food Waste.
First, you must find places where food is being discarded–close to expiration date, or bruised apples for example. Then there must be a place to bring the food. It must be a place that can store or redistribute the food before it really goes bad. Once located, then there must be people in place who can pick up the food and deliver it. And finally, someone must be on the receiving end when that delivery arrives. It is all coordinated and ready to repeat Monday through Friday–week in and week out!

Food Donors: With Food Finders as their partner, Food donors are given an option to have someone come in and take food that would be thrown out, and now can be repurposed through donation elsewhere. By not throwing food away, our landfills are reduced, and then our C02 emissions begin to fall–which will impact us and future generations.

Community Partners: These are local non-profits that can take food donations. Food Finders works to find committed and caring organizations that work every day to eliminate hunger. Food Finders found the food and the means to deliver it. These partners are now reaching out to distribute this food allowing people in food-insecure communities to gather at home and prepare a nutritious meal for their families.

So many pieces are threaded thread together to make our mission a reality. It is not just technology, or vehicles, or reports, or boxes, but people! What makes this all work are people with a shared purpose. Each of us believes that eliminating food waste will change lives.

Our new community partner, Salas & Sons.

The Impact of All of Us

When people eat nutritious food, we all win! They feel better; they learn more and their lives improve because their bodies are nourished. In this process, each of us ensures that this goal, this shared mission, is served from beginning to end. Together we do this—one committed person handing off to another until the circle is closed, and we begin again tomorrow.

Every dollar donated creates 11 meals. One pick-up and delivery can turn into hundreds of meals
Never doubt that your efforts and contributions to Food Finders do not make an impact. They make all the difference to many people in your community every day!

Are you someone who is looking to make a greater impact in your community, then reach out to us at (562) 282-1400.

There are many ways in which you can help to impact the reduction of food waste and hunger:

#1 volunteer your time. It is your time, so why not use it to change your own community? learn more

#2 make a donation that will allow us to rescue more food and repurpose it: Donate

#3 share! Share our posts on Instagram or Facebook, or share this newsletter and page. Just sharing our message with others brings awareness and advocacy that can make a huge impact one day!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact #eliminatehunger #eliminatefoodwaste

Women in Action Reaching Out Drive UpPartner Agency Highlights

Coronada King Haywood – Women in Action Reaching Out

To honor Women’s History Month, we need look no further than our own backyard, because some of the most inspiring women live among us. Today, we introduce to you Coronada King Haywood.

If you’ve traveled within the circle of Long Beach nonprofits or had the pleasure of attending any number of Long Beach award events, you may recognize her. She has spent a large part of her life making Long Beach and beyond a better place for countless people.

Before delving into her recent contributions, you should know her backstory. Coronada started her work life as a daycare helper. Her warmth and caring were an immediate draw for children, and recognizing this, her boss suggested she get a credential—just 12 units—so she could be part of the teaching staff. With her own small children to raise it would be a juggling act, but undaunted, she managed to attend classes while her kids sat quietly at the back of the lecture hall, with the permission of her professors. She swiftly completed her units and was hired! She then worked her way through a degree, first attending Cal State Dominguez, then graduating from CSULB on scholarship funds. But it wasn’t easy. “I was going through a divorce, raising kids…I just wanted to do what was best for them, ultimately,” she said. She eventually went on the teach at the Head Start program in Lynwood. Her teaching career spanned 44 years.

In 2007, she started a nonprofit organization, fueled by the grief of losing her son, an innocent victim of street violence. Her plan—to help others through similar grief. But that evolved to helping feed children, and later, feeding adults in need. By 2013 when Food Finders began assisting her organization, she had expanded her outreach even further and in 2014 officially took over Women in Action Reaching Out.

Today she employs 8 staff and serves the residents at Carmelitos Housing in North Long Beach, along with a Boys and Girls Club, nonprofit His Nesting Place, which serves families in need, and several other local park sites. Her programs include a daily grab-and-go lunch, a weekly food distribution for seniors, and providing donated clothes and hygiene items as available.

When asked what the most rewarding part about her role as CEO of Women in Action Reaching Out, she didn’t hesitate to respond.

“Being able to continue helping throughout the pandemic has been so important. My passion is ensuring that nobody goes hungry. We’ve followed all proper protocols, made sure nobody was gathering in the community rooms, and we kept our program running the whole time.”

Food Finders provides donations through local Ralph’s stores, and her recipients are so grateful for the food. “We value our partnership so much. Food Finders was the first place to help us with our food program,” she shared.

Not only has her program endured, but so has Coronada, with the recent loss of her husband still weighing heavy on her heart. “I had to get out of the house, it was getting so hard. My son encouraged me to go be involved, even if it was just an hour or two a day. It helps.”

Like everyone, Coronada looks forward to resuming normal get togethers so they can have people in group settings enjoying the meals their program provides. “We want to be that shining light, for both physical and mental well-being.”

You are the shining light, Coronada! Happy Women’s History Month, and thank you for your perseverance and dedication and for being a role model and amazing example of community spirit.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact