Every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m., the Help the Children warehouse in Valencia opens their doors to the people of the Santa Clarita Valley who are struggling to provide food for their families.
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“Help the Children is a nonprofit Christian humanitarian relief organization dedicated to help alleviate the suffering of children and their families throughout the United States and around the world,” according the the Help the Children website.
There is a process every Tuesday and Thursday that this organization goes through at the Avenue Tibbits location.
“We have a team of drivers that go to the different store that donate to us,” said Mike Santomauro, a representative of the Help the Children organization. “They bring it here where there are people who unload the donated food.”
“We can recover about 50 percent of what is donated. This warehouse is about 2,000 square feet. We receive about 320,000 pounds of food a year,” said Santomauro.
Help the Children receives no government support and runs on a 1 percent overhead, he said.
Clients fill up two of the above boxes with food. They receive close to $100 worth of food, Santomauro said.
Starbucks, Bake You Happy, Ralphs, Albertsons and other local businesses donate food to Help the Children.
Help the Children partners with over 20 local organizations, including the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry.
From 8 a.m. to noon, crews come in a organize the food, clean and prepare the warehouse for clients.
Volunteers sign in, set up and go through the rules at 4:30 p.m. Hyeran Goens was the lead for the evening. She managed all of the volunteers, helped clients and made sure all the food was ready.
Clients are allowed to start shopping at 5:30 p.m. Clients check in at the front desk with their Help the Children card.
If the clients have not registered yet, they just need to provide a valid I.D. and proof of living in the Santa Clarita Valley. Anyone who needs help is welcome.
They are allowed to shop every seven days, and each grocery section has a limit of the amount of each food a family can take.
Volunteers help the clients carry their two 10-inch by 10-inch boxes and eight to 10 grocery bags that can be filled up with food from the warehouse.
One box is for dry food while the other box is for dairy and meats.
The clients begin with the meat, dairy and produce aisle.
Next, they can go through the other isles with various foods such as cereal, pasta, canned food, jelly and granola bars.
After, the clients can go through the final aisle of breads and other bakery products.
Finally, they go through a check out where volunteers check that the clients have followed the food limits and their foods are rebagged.
Clients bring their cars up to the warehouse or walk to the bus stop. Volunteers help with loading up the cars or walks the bags down to the end of the driveway.
Help the Children not only has food, but for a donation of $1 each, clients can get gently used clothes.
The warehouse closes at 7:30 p.m., the last guests are taken care of and volunteers clean up.
The Help the Children Organization has aided more than 26,000 families in the Santa Clarita Valley since opening in 2002.
If you or someone you know would like to volunteer or is in need of help, click here for more information on Help the Children or visit them at 25030 Avenue Tibbitts, Suite L in Valencia every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m..
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Source: Santa Clarita News