White Pony Express (WPE), a nonprofit group dedicated to ending hunger and poverty in Contra Costa County, is calling for volunteers to help keep up with itsrapid growth.WPE delivers fresh, top-quality food and high quality clothing, toys, and children’s books, all free of charge, from its Pleasant Hill distribution centers to about 60,000 county residents in need.
How WPE Rescues Food
Seven days a week, WPE Food Rescue volunteers take trucks to supermarkets, restaurants, and farmers markets where they pick up surplus food – high quality, nourishing food – that would ordinarily be thrown away. In Antioch, food donors include Costco. After sorting the food, WPE volunteers deliver it to Antioch nonprofit groups that feed the hungry, including Agape International Ministry, Don Brown Shelter, Fellowship Church Greater Bay Area, Golden Hills Community Outreach Center, Light Outreach Ministry, the Salvation Army, and STAND! Kinship Center. All of this food is given free of charge.
In two and a half years, WPE has delivered more than 3,000,000 pounds of meat, dairy, eggs, produce, deli, and baked goods (equivalent to 2,500,000 meals) that would otherwise have gone to waste and that the hungry would have gone without.
An elated young guest leaves a Boutique taking home armloads of toys and clothes.
WPE Stages Innovative “Mobile Boutiques”
WPE’s Free General Store has hosted 36 unique “Mobile Boutiques” in various parts of the county. Residents in need can“shop”at these boutiques for new or like-new clothing, shoes, toys, games, and books and then take them home – all free of charge. In Antioch, WPE has hosted delightful boutiques for the Community Baby Shower for African American Women at the Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch, Antioch Shares and Cares, Victory Outreach, and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). In addition, through its “Direct Distribution” program, the Free General Store partners with service groups around our county who help those less fortunate. These groups identify the kinds and sizing of clothing needed by those they help; then they let us know and we deliver it directly to their program. Through its Mobile Boutique and Direct Distribution programs, WPE has delivered more than 250,000 items to underserved parts of the county.
Founded Solely to Serve Others
Carol Weyland Conner, PhD, spiritual director of Sufism Reoriented, founded WPE in September 2013 when she was troubled that in a county of such abundance, scores of thousands were going hungry, while at the same time food retailers were throwing out huge quantities of healthy, fresh food. Dr. Conner developed WPE’s Food Rescue and the Free General Store, both of which are free community service programs, to enable those who have more than they need to easily give to those with less, so that all can share in the happiness and abundance of life. In 2014, WPE became a separate public benefit nonprofit. Dr. Conner, who continues to be a sponsor of WPE, wanted service for WPE to spring from the heart, so today WPE is staffed entirely by volunteers who want to help, purely in the spirit of service.
More Volunteers Needed
“Our success has only been possible because of the selfless service of 400 volunteers who find great satisfaction and joy in being so helpful to others,” says Gary Conner, Executive Coordinator. “Going forward, our ability to help our neighbors is limited only by the number of people who join with us. We welcome more volunteers! We have many roles available with flexible schedules. Just give us a call!”
Interested volunteers should contact Mandy Nakaya at 925-818-6361 or email her at email@example.com. For moreon WPE, go to www.whiteponyexpress.org.