A Thank You From Our CEO

Our CEO Karina W. moved to Atlanta Georgia early in January 2015 to be closer to her family. She started Abundant Harvest 7 years ago after realizing her child’s friend at school suffered from food insecurity. Unable to imagine the pain of her own child going to bed hungry, Karina decided something must be done. That something was Abundant Harvest. After 7 successful years Abundant Harvest is now a strong and growing force for good in the San Fernando Valley. Abundant Harvest has helped over 387 individuals and families through difficult times, sponsored hundreds of events, raised over $600,000 worth of food, and opened a community kitchen. Although we are sad to see her leave we are incredibly blessed and fortunate to have her as our founder and CEO of Abundant Harvest.

Her words from Atlanta, GA

My wonderful Abundant Harvest family, I am currently in Atlanta Georgia starting our second food bank. It has been quite the journey from our original Abundant Harvest in the heart of San Fernando. I have moved my life here, taking my family and loved ones with me. Unfortunately, I had to leave behind Abundant Harvest which was an incredible heart break. With this empty hole in my life I decided to start a second Abundant Harvest here in my new community, carrying the tradition across the country.

The Abundant Harvest staff and volunteers are all one of a kind. You all breathe life into our mission and make it a reality. Words cannot express how grateful, humbled, and honored I am to have such amazing individuals share the same love and passion as I for helping others in our community. Lending a hand and a friendly smile go a long way—all the way to Atlanta! I cannot wait to return and see the amazing progress of Abundant Harvest SFV, which was undoubtedly made possible by you.

Deepest Thanks,

Karina W.

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Poetry and Coffee, Coffee and Poetry

In collaboration with California State University Northridge, Abundant Harvest is hosting its first ever Poetry Read and Coffee Night. Come listen to members of the community read their poetry about the growing issue of food insecurity in our community and its effects on individuals of all walks of life. Seats are limited to the first 50 people, we ask that you please RSVP via email by April 7th so that we are able to properly accommodate our guests. Subject line: Poetry Read and Coffee Night. Light refreshments and of course coffee will be provided. We are looking forward to a night that will surely be remembered!

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Location: 18118 Nordhoff Street, Northridge Ca. Grand Salon, USU

Date: April 12th

Time: 7pm-9pm

Admission: 2 non-perishable food items per person

Welcome to Our Community Kitchen

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ABUNDANT HARVEST OPENS COMMUNITY KITCHEN

NORTHRIDGE, CA, March 30th 2015 –Abundant Harvest opens a brand new community kitchen to help combat against food insecurity. Doors will open at 6pm, March 30th at 1234 Hawthorne Street, Northridge Ca. Refreshments and desserts will be provided.

Those attending this event includes Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who will cut the ribbon for our grand opening. Activities will include a tour of the facility, a pamphlet of healthy and affordable cooking recipes, and volunteer educational cooking demonstrations. The new kitchen was made possible by contributions and donations by the community. In particular it was made possible by the donations of Kitchen Aid who supplied more than 50 different kitchen utensils.

In the Los Angeles County alone 1.7 million people suffer from food insecurity each year, making up more than 25% of the 4 million people affected the state of California. With this new kitchen families will be able to take cooking and nutrition classes. Not only will it provide families with great education on food and health, it will give them a space to enjoy cooking together as a family.

            “It is only because of the generosity of our Los Angeles supporters that Abundant Harvest is able to give back such a wonderful opportunity to our fellow community members” said Abundant Harvest CEO Karina Winkler “Words cannot describe our thanks as we see young children eager to learn and excited to get cooking”.

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It is our mission to provide individuals and families with food insecurity in the San Fernando Valley the nutrition and sense of community they lack. Abundant Harvest strives to not only provide these individuals and families with the ingredients and knowledge for success, but to also further educate the public on an issue that is all too close to home. At Abundant Harvest we believe there is plenty for all.

Orange – more than a color, more than a fruit.

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Abundant Harvest would like to thank California State University Northridge for donating 32 pounds of oranges from their very own Orange Grove. Our volunteers, alongside with CSUN students, faculty and staff, spent 5 hours this past Sunday in CSUN’s beautiful orange grove collecting oranges for our food pantry. As part of our mission, Abundant Harvest works not only to offer families with non-perishable goods but also fresh fruit and vegetables to provide them with the vitamins and minerals they need to live a nutritious and healthy life.

Over the past 3 years CSUN has been a remarkable force in helping our cause to end food insecurity in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles area. CSUN held 3 food drives and organized 2 guest speakers to lecture on the growing problem of food insecurity in our community. Each of these 5 events had a tremendous impact on both increasing our pantry’s supply and the public’s awareness of our mission and their involvement in Abundant Harvest.

We are so thankful to this wonderful community within our own and greatly look forward to the positive changes to come by continuing our relationship with California State University Northridge.

Food Insecurity Lead to Childhood Obesity

Nutrition for LA families

Childhood obesity has been a hot button issue in the United States for a number of years. When we look at the data collected for the Los Angeles County we see noticeable connection between childhood obesity and food insecurity among the low income population.  It is in these low income communities we see a high concentration of food deserts—a geographical area where healthy and affordable food is unavailable. These food desert areas leave minimal options, almost all of which are unhealthy fast food restaurants or convenient stores, none of which offer quality fresh fruits and vegetables. It is with the increase in food insecurity we see a parallel rise in obesity, particularly in childhood obesity.

Immediate health effects 

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5-17 year-olds, 70% of obese youth have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem

Long-term health affects

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
  • One study indicated that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Food insecurity and its’ related issues affects almost 1.7 million people in Los Angeles County alone, accounting for more than 25% of the estimated 4 million people affected in the state of California. Abundant Harvest is committed to stopping and reversing the negative effects of food insecurity with education, support, and the goodness of real food.

Kathy Leslie is Volunteer of the Month

This is Kathy Leslie

This month’s Volunteer of the Month goes to Kathy Leslie. Kathy has been volunteering at Abundant Harvest since our opening 10 years ago. In her time here, she has spent countless hours organizing the food pantry, reaching out to her personal friends and neighbors to donate time, and has put on 32 events to help enforce our mission and raise awareness.

Kathy is not only an inspiration at Abundant Harvest but at her local elementary school where she has been teaching third grade for 27 years. As one of our oldest and most committed volunteers, we are excited to dedicate this month’s award to Kathy. She has been a tremendous asset to help achieve our goals and mission—thank you Kathy Leslie!

 

Volunteering

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Volunteers help organize the pantry and other facilities as well even help run and organize public events. Volunteering for Abundant Harvest is a great opportunity to give back to the community as well as gaining valuable skills to use in any profession or lifestyle.

Abundant Harvest is always taking volunteers and are currently working with several local high schools to help students gain their volunteer hours. At Abundant Harvest we pride ourselves in having a fun, energetic and educcational atmosphere.

“There is no greater gift than giving back to your community. It creates an endless cycle of continual improvement that we can all contribute to”–CEO, Karina W.

Volunteer Hours:

Mon-Sat: 9am-7pm

Location: 1243 Hawthorne Street, Northridge Ca

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Any further questions please contact Karina Walker.

Phone: (818)818-8118

Email: karinawalker@abundantharvest.com

The Carter Family, Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel

success story- mom and daughters

In May 2013 the Carter family lost their beloved father and husband, Ryan Carter. Ryan was on his way home from a quick grocery run before dinner and was involved in a fatal car collision. With him gone the family was overwhelmed with grief and pain and did not know where to turn next. Shellie Carter was now a single mother, having to support two young and herself with only a part-time job. She did not know how she was going to manage supporting her children both financially and emotionally through their grieving process. Abundant Harvest reached out and, thanks to our volunteers and donors, was able to provide the family with food and support during this difficult time.

With the help of Abundant Harvest the Carter family was able to return to their life. Allison, 3 years old, was able to continue her preschool. She loves to play sports and paint rainbows. Kaitlin, 5 years old, completed her first year at kinder garden and now attends our local elementary school for first grade.  Almost a year after the loss of her husband, Shellie was able to find a stable job at the local Sprouts Market, starting of as Assistant Manager. Now that the family is back on their feet they are able to come and volunteer during their free time.

Life often comes with obstacles that are too difficult to overcome alone—with Abundant Harvest, we provide a sense of community and the food individuals and families need during hard times. The last thing anyone should worry about during obstacles in their life is how to put food on the table. We are more than just a food bank, we extend our hand during tough times. Now that the Carters are on their feet we can all smile and be thankful this story has a happier ending.

Food Insecurity in the San Fernando Valley

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Food insecurity in the San Fernando Valley have been increasing annually. Everyday thousands of children look to their parents to provide food that will nourish their bodies. Over a quarter (28.5%) of California’s poor children live in Los Angeles County. Unfortunately, the San  Fernando Valley is home to many of these children who go to bed hungry.

More than 38% of Los Angeles County’s population live on a stretched income while 17.5% (approximately 1.56 million people) live under the federal poverty limit ($23,021 annually for a family of four.)

The number of food banks in the Los Angeles county have increased by 27% over the last three years and there is currently an estimated gap between supply and demand of 1.3 million pounds of food county-wide.Food insecurity in the San Fernando Valley is a real issue, one that Abundant Harvest is determined to help change.

Welcome to Abundant Harvest Where we Believe There is Plenty for All.

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   Welcome to Abundant Harvest where we raise awareness and help educate the public about food insecurity in the greater   Los Angeles Community.

Food insecurity is the inability to consistently afford enough food—it is not knowing when or where your next meal is coming from. Research shows that adults with food insecurity face higher risks of chronic diseases as well as depression and poor mental health. For children, food insecurity is also linked to poor academic outcomes along with malnutrition.

Food insecurity is a reality for many Californians—especially in the Los Angeles County.

“While more than four million food-insecure Californians may seem like an overwhelming number, strong public policies once built a safety net in this country that virtually eliminated hunger. Our local, state, and federal leaders have the power to ensure that all Californians are well nourished each and every day of the year. We are calling on those leaders to act,” says George Manalo-LeClair, Executive Director of CFPA.

Food insecurity and malnutrition go hand in hand. When individuals and families struggle to keep food on the table they often are not concerned with the nutritional facts of that food. Also, many of these families do not have the proper resources or education to prepare or store food.

Here at Abundant Harvest we not only want to give families food but we want to create a safe place for them to learn about healthy foods and how to best prepare those foods. Abundant Harvest is much more than a food pantry—it is a progressive push for sustainable healthy living.

We believe that giving these individuals and families the food they need along with the skills of how to best prepare healthy options, together we can change the face of hunger in our community.