Serving the community since 1970

Church nourishes the needy

Westside Family Fellowship held its monthly farmers market on Thursday. Over 1,000 people came for free produce and other food essentials.

"Today was a great day. We gave away a lot of produce like potatoes, romaine lettuce, red onions, spinach, oranges and kiwis. The goal is to provide healthy foods," Pastor Johnny Martinez said.

"We are happy we can help our community during these difficult times and ease their pocketbooks. It lets them save money for Christmas."

He gets a lot of gratification and satisfaction by holding these free events.

"Greeting them with smiles and sharing the Christmas spirit means so much to me. God said he loves cheerful givers, and we like to give cheerfully. We want to imitate our heavenly father. That's why we do what we do."

Hilda Santana has been a church member for ten years and volunteers regularly.

"The Lord has been so good to me. What we do is not enough for what he has done for us. The least we can do is honor him."

Another volunteer and veteran of the church for more than 10 years, Richard Herrera, donates his time often to support the cause.

"I am going to continue for as long as I can because it is very fulfilling," he said. "It's also a big undertaking and requires a lot of volunteers."

The team arrived at 5:30 a.m. to set up. At that time, there were already cars lined up.

"It was cold, but it was worth it," Herrera said.

Volunteer Leonardo Chavez said, "The Scripture tells us we should do to others as we would want them to do to us, and that's to serve."

"The people that come here, you don't know what they are going through, and I just would like to be a part of their lives in a positive way."

Those that came said they appreciated the charity because things are tough with the economy.

"I hear testimonies that if it weren't for this event, they would be asking for help somewhere else," Chavez said.

Gloria Hernandez came to receive the free food.

"This is an opportunity to feed my family. I thank the church for its assistance. We are living with hardships. The salary I earn is not sufficient to cover all of our expenses.

Some that attended said they were unemployed. Teres Villa is one of them.

"We are farmworkers, and since the grape season ended, we have been left without work. This helps us a lot. They give us fresh fruits and vegetables, and I like that."

Pastor Martinez said, "I am proud of the hard work we put into today to make it a success. It is truly a blessing we can help so many people in our community that need it the most."

The next farmer's market is Thursday, Jan. 19, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Westside Family Fellowship, 2150 Palm Ave. For more information, call Pastor Martinez at 661-301-5979.


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