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Food pantry closures affecting over 40 Imperial Beach families

Posted at 6:41 PM, May 08, 2024

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) — A local food pantry is having to close its doors more often because they don't have enough volunteers, and that means around 40 families will miss out on groceries for the week.

“I have a lot of medical issues that have helped deplete my normal monthly funds,” said Susan Champlin, a regular patron of Project 1:1's Magnolia Project.

Fresh produce, dairy products, and bread are required in Champlin’s diet as a diabetic. She relies on her biweekly appointment at the Magnolia Project to supply just that

“I need healthy stuff to keep me afloat,” said Champlin.

However, the Magnolia Project — located on 633 9th St. in Imperial Beach — is having trouble keeping its doors open and its kitchen staffed with volunteers.

They posted a sign on their door saying that since they had no volunteers, they had to close Monday. Patrons who showed up left empty-handed.

Officials with the Magnolia Project told ABC 10News there are more days in May that have the same staffing problem.

Champlin said, if her appointment was canceled, “I would probably have to go anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks without food.”

“There was a lot of people just kind of lingering and unfortunately, there was not enough people here to help,” said Amanda Saucedo, a volunteer at the Magnolia Project.

Saucedo volunteered after her grandmother passed away, keeping her memory alive by being in the kitchen and serving food to the community and at home

“I feed, you know, my family three times a day, cooking all the time. So this is not only, you know, a resource for me as well, you know, but for a lot of people in this community,” said Saucedo.

She said that her favorite part of volunteering is seeing her regulars come in, like Susan.

“People put like a stigma on it. Getting food, food banks. And I don’t feel that way here because they don't treat people like that,” said Champlin.

The Magnolia Project is a 501(c)(3) and takes private donations and out-of-pocket expenses. For more information, including how you can donate, visit https://www.projectoneone.org/magnolia-project or https://www.projectoneone.org/givenow.