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A plea from the Foodbanks

A plea from the Foodbanks

A painful reality check


It’s been over 20 years since the death of my father from liver cancer devastated my world. The 5 months from diagnosis to death were a head spinning nightmare and rendered me completely useless and lost until my mother, who had lost her husband of 43 years, suggested I volunteer, for something, anything, just find a way to occupy me and get me up off the floor. I went to and found an opportunity to deliver fresh food to social service agencies through a program from the Westside Food Bank, a Santa Monica based non-profit serving the west side of Los Angeles since 1981.


While I find it difficult to articulate the life changing and life saving experience as a volunteer I’ve had since that day in 2000, it’s because of the Westside Food bank, and food banks all over this country, that have enabled low-income people to stay in their homes rather than making the agonizing choice between rent and food. The WSFB services 55 member agencies throughout the west side from Santa Monica to the LAX area. For every $1 donation, the food bank can convert it into 4 nutritious meals and $20 can provide a dozen college students one meal every day for a week.

The first image of the empty shelves at the foodbank are heartbreaking. During the 2008 recession, the need for emergency food assistance rose exponentially, but the demand due to COVID-19 (by the way, the 19 is for 2019, there wasn’t a COVID 1 thru 18 as you may have heard some uninformed say) is unprecedented. The Safer at Home measures that have been implemented in California have made it impossible for food banks to accept donations of food from individuals and they’ve had to close their facilities to the public. The food distribution continues with limited hours of operation to stock warehouses and distribute food to service agencies. The need for donations cannot be emphasized enough and I encourage any who can to donate anything they can. Remember, $1 = 4 nutritious meals, $5 = 20 nutritious meals.

Westside Food Bank Video
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The 4 minute video shows what the WSFB is about with a cameo from my late mother, Ruby, who used to be a part of the annual Hunger Walk, held by the food bank every year in the fall. Under the video is the donation link set up by the WSFB especially for donations desperately needed during this pandemic. The acknowledgement that things are dire for more people than ever before is clear, but, if  you’re reading this, I argue that you’re doing a lot better than millions who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, for them and their families. Almost half of the people served are children and it just seems wrong that we live in the richest, most powerful country in the world, even in a pandemic should be able to provide food for all. The reality is, the ones who fall through the cracks are literally the ones saving our lives and the first responders in this crisis. As I traveled to many parts of the world, my pride of being a citizen of this country only grows as I see the levels of giving that make Americans so unique. Until recently, the USA was always first on the scene of any world tragedy and the spirit of that still lives around the globe. Consider a donation to the West side food bank, the Los Angeles Regional food bank or any local food bank where you live. Making a difference and paying it forward is who we are as Americans and citizens of the world. We need to step up now more than ever.

Once again, to donate as little as $1 to the food bank. Genevieve Riutort, or Gen, is the chief development officer (celebrating 16 years with the foodbank) and can be reached at 310-397-5239 or you can mail a check to:

Westside Food Bank

1710 22nd Street

Santa Monica, CA 90404

all other inquiries  310-828-6016 ext. 19


The Herb Garden update

Look how they’re growing! 7 days since the last photos were taken and all but the Italian parsley have sprouted. The manual spoke of the basil sprouting early and quickly and that is apparent. Pruning is coming soon so if any of you have any helpful tips, I’d sure appreciate it. The mint was barely sprouting so I’ll update that next week. I’d also love any recipe ideas you may want to pass on that I can use with all these herbs. Exciting to watch grow, indeed, but I feel that soon overwhelm is getting ready to replace the observational fun of it all. Still cool though. I mean, what else is there to do? Going outside once a week to the grocery store has turned into an Indiana Jones type experience with any buildings being The Temple of Doom. Did you ever think life would look like this? I think it’s comical. Can’t wait to see how fashion evolves. I live up the street from Beverly Hills and I can already see the Prada masks covering all that Botox….better make them see through!


Any cooking with herbs ideas?

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  1. Lydia says:

    Thank you for sharing the video Chris. It’s amazing how we take things for granted Thanks to your volunteer work with the food bank, but more so seeing your late mother, my adopted mother late Ruby put a big smile on my face at 3:00am. I remember her going to the annual walks organized by Westside food bank.
    During times like these it’s an eye opener and donations will definitely help a long way. Time to pay it forward.
    Take care and stay safe.

    • CB says:

      Thanks so much Lydia. You always leave the best comments. I really appreciate it. Mom would be so proud of you!

  2. LauraB says:

    Thank you, Chris, I just made a donation after reading your wonderful piece and seeing your sweet mother.

    As for that beautiful basil, one word: pesto! Or pasta alla checca: dress the pasta with raw tomatoes, pieces of mozzarella, olive oil, minced garlic and torn pieces of fresh basil. Buon appetito!

    • CB says:

      By the way, that recipe sounds sooo good. It’s 8 in the morning and I wanna eat that right now! Can’t wait for the Basil to mature!

    • CB says:

      Thank you and thank you Laura! Helping so many others and always helping me. Forever grateful.

  3. Deborah says:

    Thank you for the video enlightening me on the good works of the Westside food banks. Good to see Ruby’s smile. I was compeled to send a donation today.

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