Update, 9/20: A Magical Night to Fight Hunger has been canceled this year. One Colorado is still collecting nonperishable donations for Friends in Deed.
Throughout September, Pasadena’s historic One Colorado shopping district is asking residents to recognize the issue of food insecurity. Hunger Awareness Month events aim to raise consciousness, funds and resources for combating hunger. One Colorado is owned and operated by ShopCore Properties and all event proceeds will benefit CoreGiving, ShopCore’s nonprofit that focuses on combating this nationwide problem.
“One in six children experiences food insecurity in the U.S.,” said Rishika Mahtani, director of Shopping Center Marketing for ShopCore Properties. “For all of us at ShopCore, this is unacceptable.¨
In 2021, the initiative donated 9 million meals nationwide and the 2022 goal is to provide 14 million meals. The main event, “A Magical Night to Fight Hunger” is an annual dinner hosted in the One Pasadena courtyard on Friday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. The $100 per person three-course dinner under the stars will include dishes and a drink by Sushi Roku as well as a magic show by local illusionists Elizabeth Messick, David Stryker, John Accardo and Griffin Barry.
¨The $100 that we collect from our customers that attend will be 100% donated to CoreGiving which donates 100% of every single dollar that is received back to the communities,¨ Mahtani added, ¨We really hope to rally our community together and come behind this initiative to donate as much as possible for our friends and neighbors in need.¨
To this end, Sushi Roku’s Pasadena location has committed the service at cost so that 100% of the proceeds go to CoreGiving’s food insecurity funding. Guests can expect their signature fusion of Japanese cuisine with Latin and European twists. Sarah Hester, general manager for the restaurant, is happy for Sushi Roku to provide the dinner for its second year.
¨Providing food and being able to help fight hunger is something that’s very, very important to us, especially when it comes to children. You know, we never ever want to see a hungry child. So if there’s anything we can do to participate in, stopping that we will definitely be a part of that,¨ she said.
Every Saturday from 12-5 p.m., visitors can donate nonperishable food items to The Giving Table located on Douglas Avenue. One of the six chairs seated at the table will be white, to remind donors of children experiencing hunger.
The California Association of Food Banks reports that 1 in 5 Californias, approximately 8 million people, regularly battle food insecurity. Nationwide research notes that Black, Latinx and multiracial residents experience food insecurity at the highest rates. Through its partnership with Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, CoreGiving is committing all donations to Friends in Deed. Along with non-perishable food, due to the heat index, residents are encouraged to donate bottled water.
Friends in Deed is a nonprofit organization that provides survival resources to the underserved communities of Pasadena, Altadena and the surrounding San Gabriel Valley. Its services include street outreach, a food pantry, eviction prevention and rental assistance. Additionally, Friends in Deed founded The Women’s Room, which is focused on serving women who experience homelessness.
From nonperishable items to cooking essentials and fresh produce, Friends in Deedś food pantry provides the kinds of foods that anyone may stock in their own kitchens. Tim Nistler has worked as the director of the food pantry for 10 years but noted that in the past two there has been an increased need in the community. His aim is to keep ahead of the demand so that anyone who asks for assistance receives it in abundance.
¨We received 9,000 or 10,000 pounds of food today. We might not use all of that next week. That was just what we got in today. And we’ll use a lot of it but my hope is to always have extra in the stockroom,” he said. “We’re not going to turn anyone away. I would like people to come when we’re open, but if they don’t know or they forgot, (or) they haven’t been here in a while. We’re gonna make sure they get food and try to remove that one hurdle they’re facing.”
After the onset of COVID-19, 50.3% of adults who experience food insecurity have children in their households and 35.6% are single parents, according to a 2020 USC study. With the onset of the pandemic, Nistler saw an increase of about 100 families in need of food, averaging today at 440 per week. This need, Nistler noted, does not appear to be decreasing anytime soon.
“A lot of it is still dealing with high food costs,” Nistler said, “The gas prices have dropped a bit, but they’re still high, and then also probably some of the issues surrounding rent moratoriums going away. Any relief they had for rent or some of those related monthly expenses — that’s kind of gone away so everything is just back in full force. It’s like right in all of our family’s faces. And so they need places like Friends in Deed.”
The same study found that the highest rates of food insecurity were in East L.A. (21.8%), San Gabriel Valley (17.9%), Metro L.A. (17.4%), and South L.A. (15.8%). The average rent in Los Angeles is over $2,700 while the national average sits at $1,700, according to rentcafe.com.
Feeding America cites that children facing hunger are more likely to be hospitalized and face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. This puts those affected at higher risk should they contract COVID-19. Hunger in children is also linked to depression, mood, behavior, substance abuse disorders, and reduced learning and productivity.
Because this issue is faced by people of all ages, One Colorado will also educate children on nutrition, hunger, and food insecurity through a complimentary hands-on activity during “Feed the Plate,” on Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. Food donations are also welcome during this event. Nistler and others on the Friends in Deed team will have a booth with information about its many services.
“People that need assistance, whether it’s food assistance, or any kind of social services, assistance, or maybe homeless in some cases, they’re just like us. They have children, they have aunts and uncles and grandparents and newborns and pets and they need to take a shower and brush their teeth and go to school and go to work. They’re just like all of us, and we might not know that the person next to us is visiting a food bank or needing that assistance,” added Nistler, “And if we can start there, then I think that opens us up to to be more understanding of our community.”
The Pantry is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friends in Deed accepts donations Fridays and Saturdays only, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations of food, toiletries and water are accepted.
For more information on the most needed items visit friendsindeedpas.org/programs/the-food-pantry/. There are many forms of aid, and volunteers are encouraged to apply. To stay up to date, follow Friends in Deed on all social media where calls to action based on need are posted regularly.
Tickets for “A Magical Night to Fight Hunger” are $100 per person. To purchase tickets, please visit Eventbrite.
For more information on One Colorado or to learn more about the center’s complimentary Hunger Action Month activities, please visit www.onecolorado.com and follow the property on Facebook and Instagram at @OneColoradoOldPasadena.