From Bagging Groceries to Needing Them

Mar 14, 2012

Carrie-Ann Lue Sue at St. Joseph's Giving Bank

As much as The Powers That Be may be declaring that our economy is turning around, and many of us may be experiencing and benefiting from this upturn, one assertion we’ve heard lately is that it’s not just the lower class and working poor who have been needing help. More and more often, it’s those previously existing comfortably in the middle class who are lining up for food, clothing, and other services.

“It’s scary,” said Patricia Diaz, co-owner of the Great Harvest Bread Company in South Pasadena. Every Wednesday, Urban Harvester comes by and takes their extra loaves and delivers them to Union Station Homeless Services. St. James comes by every Friday. Sometimes Holy Family reaches out.

We spoke with Carrie-Ann Lue Sue, Director of Community Services at the Holy Family Giving Center at St. Joseph’s. Their food pantry is a large facility equipped with multiple refrigerators and an impressive freezer—donations from Trader Joe’s, Pavilions, Vons, Starbucks and Whole Foods remain fresh until needed.

Every Monday morning, a group of volunteers at St. Joseph’s put together 250 bags of groceries. People often start lining up at 6 a.m., even though the doors don’t open until nine. Here, too, Carrie-Ann has noticed the fallout of the economic crisis. Some people who used to help them fill bags are now standing in line, waiting to receive one.

Chris Jansen-Gillum, a psychotherapist in Pasadena, wanted to “do” something. Her work is challenging and rewarding, but she wanted something that would lead from “A” directly to “B” (psychotherapy doesn’t work quite that cleanly). Four times a week she picks up unsold baked goods from Euro Pane and takes them to St. Joseph’s. Euro Pane owner Sumi Chang credits her book club friends Diane Burr and Dawn Lyon as they are the ones who approached her with the idea of donating the leftover goods. Sumi says she didn’t have to think twice; she’s just happy to help.

From picking up bags full of gourmet baked goods to filling paper bags with nutritious foods, there are numerous ways to help if you have the time and desire. The websites for St. James and Holy Family Church clearly explain all of their volunteer opportunities. At this point, moving from “A” to “B” is only a simple click on the links below.

St. James: Community Food Locker, every Friday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
1325 Monterey Rd., South Pasadena
For more info, or to volunteer, call 626.799.9194 or email

Holy Family Church: St Joseph Center Giving Bank, every Monday, 9 a.m.
1524 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena
For more info, or to volunteer, call 626.403.6141 or email Carrie-Ann Lue Sue at

2 Responses for “From Bagging Groceries to Needing Them”

  1. Trader Joe’s, Pavilions, Vons, Starbucks and Whole Foods, Euro Pane and of course Great Harvest Bread Company–did I miss anybody? They’re all business worthy of our dollars, when we have them, because they contribute to our community. It’s good to hear.

  2. Gerda Govine says:

    What about Ralphs and Target and the mega drug store chains that sell food items, for example, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS.



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