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Helping Provide Food and Meals to the Hungry, By By Steve Spraitzar and Faye Donaghue

Jan 02, 2017 01:46PM ● By Elena Hutslar

Jim Bonato, Michelle Lacy (in back), Rotary President Anne Baker, Gary Conner (WPE Exec Coordinator), Jen Grossi, Sue Noack, Dick Marvin, Matt Rinn, Steve Van Dorn (behind), Tina Young, Joe Thibedeau (kneeling), Ken Jacobson, Karen Sakata, and Bob Lamson.

By Steve Spraitzar and Faye Donaghue

On December 8, the Rotary Clubs of Contra Costa presented a gift of a refrigerated Ford Transit 250 to Gary Conner, executive coordinator of White Pony Express (WPE), to help WPE with its vibrant Food Rescue Program. After Mr. Conner gave a speech to the Rotary Club in Pleasant Hill in 2014, the Club dedicated itself to raising $50,000 over the course of two years to buy this van. The enduring leadership and efforts of Jennifer Grossi, recent president of the Pleasant Hill Rotary, and the co-leadership of Walnut Creek Rotary Club were instrumental in completing this fundraising drive.


The van, which has been named “Jenni,” will help ensure that WPE’s express deliveries of fresh food continue at high standards to 70+ nonprofits in the county who provide food and meals to the hungry. Mr. Conner told those assembled, “With this gift you are uplifting the lives of those in need and doing a tremendous service to our county and to Pleasant Hill. Jenni enables us to accept the new Whole Foods store as a seven-day a week food donor.”


Every day, WPE sends volunteers to supermarkets, restaurants, and farmers’ markets where, in just over three years, they’ve rescued and delivered more than 4,000,000 pounds of fresh, nutritious excess food (equivalent to about 3,300,000 meals the hungry would have gone without). WPE has rescued high-quality meat, dairy, eggs, produce, deli, and baked goods that would otherwise have been discarded and delivered it generally within two hours of the donation. Its Food Rescue Program now picks up and delivers over 5,000 pounds of free food a day, seven days a week!


There is an urgent need for volunteers to help WPE with its mission of eliminating hunger and poverty in Contra Costa County. For more information, go to or call 925-322-0604.


And watch for “Jenni” as she does her work around Pleasant Hill and other communities!