The Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition (WSHC) is giving community support honors to 12 businesses at its 11th Annual Success Breakfast on Friday, October 6, at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Among the businesses recognized for their contributions in assisting the homeless achieve success is RAND Corporation, which was chosen for the honor by the Westside Food Bank.
The Food Bank, which distributes close to four million pounds of food a year to more than 80,000 local people – half of whom are children – through the work of 65 agencies that receive its food, is itself one of the 30 member organizations that make up the Coalition, a group of public service nonprofits, church organizations, and government agencies.
“RAND has been very good to us for a long time,” said Genevieve Riutort, Development Director at Westside Food Bank. RAND has contributed financially, she said, and “it has supported our Hunger Walk [now in its 16th year] since its inception, provided facilities for our board meetings, and its employees have worked as volunteers for both the Food Bank and other organizations that receive food from us.”
“The Westside Food Bank and RAND go back almost 20 years,” said Iao Katagiry, Director of Community Relations at RAND, who also sits on the Food Bank’s board of directors. She said that the company hosted the Hunger Walk from the beginning, providing its parking lot across Ocean Avenue from the Pier for the start/finish area, until the Walk outgrew those facilities and moved to Santa Monica High School. RAND lets its people know of the need for volunteers, and it is supportive, in a quiet way, of employees who choose to donate time and effort.
Ms. Riutort of the Food Bank particularly praised the response of RAND and its employees who contributed to the Food Bank’s Katrina efforts with towels, clothing, diapers and baby food in addition to the basic food supplies, as Santa Monica’s charitable efforts extended well beyond the city limits. She also spoke of the importance of WSHC: “It’s a way for us to get together to connect – to avoid duplication among providers, to improve efficiency and to share information on pending legislation, future plans and the like.”
The Coalition’s member organizations demonstrate the “need for ongoing efforts to allow [homeless] individuals to succeed, to come to grips with their own situations and improve their lives,” said RAND’s Katagiry. The Success Breakfast “does a tremendous job of recognizing people” – people like honoree Scott Brutzman, profiled in last week’s Mirror – “that’s the real story,” she said.
This year’s Westside Food Bank Hunger Walk will take place this month, on October 29. www.westsidefoodbankca.org.