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How a Daily Box of Food Inspired a Food Pantry

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Evolution of a Food Box-web

It Began with One Box

One box of food from Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo and KPC Buddhist Relief (KPC-BR) was delivered to the Upcounty Hub without fail, every day for over a year. It would always be filled with nutritious and high-protein foods such as canned tuna and peanut butter, but also foods that would be difficult for a low-income parent to justify purchasing at the grocery store. Cereal, juice boxes and pudding cups for the kids. Honey, coffee, rich soups and sauces, and condiments. Pantry items and thoughtful additions that help a meal to not only fill a tummy, but feed the soul.


One Box Led to a Pantry

While unloading that day’s box, Director of Operations Marko Rivera-Oven had what he called a “light bulb moment.” The items from the daily boxes from KPCBR
could form the beginnings of a Choice Pantry. Different from the 4x/weekly food distributions where boxes of items from food banks were distributed at set locations to anyone who showed up, the Choice Pantry would allow the Hub to target a specific demographic – in this case, low-income families in need of diapers.

When they showed up to collect the diapers, they would be able to choose foods from the pantry that best met their families’ needs, foods they would not find in other food banks and boxes. Additionally, Upcounty Hub staff would be able to offer wraparound services such as vaccinations, ESL classes, vision screening, and more. The Choice Pantry would give each family the opportunity to be seen and supported in multiple ways.

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2,240 Pounds – More Than One Ton!

Jetsunma was immediately on board with the concept, and KPC-BR began purchasing and delivering items by the case, hundreds and hundreds of pounds each week. After the first two runs of the Choice Pantry over the summer, and hearing that some items ran out before the last day, things had to change again. Everyone deserves to have what they need when shopping to feed their family, and running out of items while the Pantry was still open was not okay.

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Choice = Dignity and So Much More

So last week, in preparation for the August Pantry opening, KPC Buddhist Relief made their biggest delivery yet – a literal TON of food. It took five vehicles to deliver the 2,240 pounds of food. Soups, stews, pastas, sauces, dried fruits, honey, jams, masa, quinoa, rice, oil, milk, canned hams, legumes, cereal, oatmeal, cookies, condiments, and more – plus over 150 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, with some from our Buddhist Giving Garden.

Food Insecurity is Rising

The thought of living in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, yet finding out that 1 in 6 people are dealing with food insecurity, is unfathomable. Through KPC Buddhist Relief and our  partnerships with organizations such as the Upcounty Hub, we can help ensure families are fed. This is only possible because of donors such as you who support this effort.


Here is a Way To Help

We need your support to continue and grow Buddhist Relief. With pandemic SNAP benefits no longer available and the rising cost of food, families often need to decide between paying for healthcare, or electricity, or food. No one should have to choose amongst basic necessities. Can you make a monthly or annual donation to Buddhist Relief? Or a one-time donation? Scientific studies have proven that the joy of giving lasts longer than the joy of getting, and we can attest to the truth of this first hand. Won’t you join us in making a difference in the lives of others? We invite you to give here: