Porterville Area Coordinating Council (P.A.C.C.) Executive Director Ryan Land watched and smiled as hundreds of large boxes of non-perishable food items arrived Tuesday morning at the PSW, Porterville Shelter Workshop, warehouse near the Porterville Airport.
“Porterville is in a great need and for us to be able to provide 24 pallets of food to help non-profits and local churches, and to the public, is a great honor,” Land said.
Twenty four pallets of food — the first of two large scheduled shipments — are part of the humanitarian-aid arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City.
An additional delivery, with another 24 pallets of non-perishable food and supply items, is slated to arrive on October 13.
The LDS Humanitarian Aid donation of surplus food is generally to support emergency response efforts for worldwide disasters but on occasion, a surplus of resources become available to communities like Porterville.
“We are so happy Latter-Day Saints are partnering with us,” said Donna Grigsby, president of P.A.C.C. “It's all about giving back to our community.”
Jesus Christ Church of LDS' Porterville Stake President Kelley Ivancovich, was on hand Tuesday and talked about some of the services provided by the Church's “Just Serve” organization which helps build unity through community service.
Local members of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS supported the large donation coming to the Porterville community by making LDS Humanitarian Aid aware of the local needs, Ivancovich said.
Among the food items was everything from waffle mix and syrup, to canned items such as cream of chicken and tomato sauce, to salsa, apple sauce, creamy peanut butter, white flour and more.
PACC will organize the food delivery, said Naomi Schuler, Just Serve Specialist with the Porterville Stake.
“It will go to more than 20 small, local non-profit groups in the Porterville area,” Schuler said. “PACC Executive Director Ryan Land and Governing Board Member Fred Beltran are working directly with the non-profits to receive the food.”
It arrived via a 52-foot Deseret Industries semi-truck driven by Lars Shively from Salt Lake City to Porterville over the course of two days.
Deseret is an ancient Hebrew word that means Honeybee, said Shively who works for the Welfare and Self Reliance Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.
“When challenges, like with the pandemic and the drought hit, people can't progress spiritually if they are hungry,” Shively said. “We have food in our warehouse in Salt Lake City collected from our church family, and as much as possible, we can the food ourselves but some of the produce we procure from the community.”
The food is temporarily stored at one of PSW's warehouses.
“As a community organization, we are so dependent on the community of Porterville to support our programs. So when we get an opportunity to give back, we're happy to give back,” said Ron Killingsworth, director of communication with PSW. “As long as we can help, we will do so.”
Because of the forward thinking of the PSW board of directors in major remodeling at their Poplar Street site, it freed up the space at the airport warehouse, said Don Sowers.
“The timing is ideal because the warehouse has been vacant due to our recent reorganization. We just moved everything over to our Poplar site and it made this available. We will continue to do so until it is full, then we can move over to another warehouse and continue as long as we can.”
And as the final pallet of boxes was removed from the truck, Shively also smiled and appeared pleased.
“This serves a duo purpose. It's not just a job, it's a calling,” Shively said. “I get to be Christ's hands and I am honored to do it and help people feel his love regardless of who they are.”
Non-profit groups will help distribute the food to those in need over the next two weeks.
Organizations that would like to receive a food donation are asked to contact the PACC office at 559-793-0213 for more information.