My Friends House seeks to alleviate the pain of hunger by opening its doors each week to seniors, the unemployed and underemployed, the working poor and others on limited incomes, women and children and the homeless. All are welcome! Because we do not limit the frequency that one can receive food, we often see the same people each week. They get to know us and each other as they gather in the front yard waiting their turn to enter the house to “shop.”
We do not refer to those who come to us as clients, but consumers or constituents. Our pantry helps individuals stretch their income, enabling them to take care of other responsibilities. So, they come every week and we get to know them. They become like family. We provide a friendly, welcoming place to give them a “helping hand” rather than a handout.
The earliest days of our food distribution program consisted of distributing bread once a month and maintaining a small quantity of donated non-perishable items. These were distributed to the homeless through Ascension Lutheran Church. Today, My Friends House,Inc. distributes a wide variety of products to over 100 households every week of the year, 45% are seniors on a fixed income.
The food we provide is donated by grocery stores and restaurants through the national Harvest Support Network and items we receive as members of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Our partnerships enable us to offer foods not generally found in the typical food pantry such as shrimp, lobster, crab, pizza, chicken and baked potatoes. This year we have significantly increased the produce we offer.
Client choice models are now trending among food pantries. Client choice models enable individuals to select the items they want rather than receive a prepackaged bag. MFH has used a modified “client choice model” since its inception in 1995. Our consumers have the opportunity “to shop” among the products we offer, selecting only those items they need and want as well as receive a prepacked bag.