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“Stock the Pantry” fundraiser proves Laguna residents’ generous spirit

In the last 31 days of a very tough year, the residents of Laguna came together and raised more than $65,000 for the Laguna Food Pantry through the “Stock the Pantry” fundraiser sponsored by the Mike Johnson Group of Compass. Generous retailers created gift baskets to be given away to donors in an opportunity drawing and were the catalyst to the fundraiser’s success.

Retailers involved in the project included Brass Tack, Vertigo Home, Another Kind Restaurant, Laguna Beach Beer Company, Laguna Supply, Studio Taka, and Laguna Candles. 

“The Laguna Food Pantry and the Mike Johnson Group would like to thank all of the donors during this fundraiser, with special thanks for the abundant generosity of the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation and the Black Family Foundation,” a representative of the Food Pantry said. 

Although, due to COVID, it was not advisable to host the annual Kitchen Tours to Stock the Laguna Food Pantry, the alternative opportunity drawing raised awareness and an incredible amount of needed funds for a critical part of the Laguna Beach community. 

Stock the Pantry group

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(L-R) Anne Belyea, director of the Laguna Food Pantry, Lynnea Rodriguez, winner of Vertigo Home Gift Basket, Karen McCulley, winner of The Hive Gift Basket, Mike Johnson, and Susan Thomas, Food Pantry board chair

“It warmed our hearts to witness our community come together and support the Pantry,” said Sylvia Ames of the Mike Johnson Group, “We love our giving community and the work of the Laguna Food Pantry. A thank you and a big hug is not nearly enough for all of the donors, but please know that your donation made an impact.”

Pantry donors won the following gift baskets in the opportunity drawing: Laguna Supply Gift Basket Winner - Joan Gladstone; Vertigo Home Gift Basket Winner - Lynea Rodriguez; Studio Taka Gift Basket Winner - Erin Berryman; Brass Tack Gift Basket Winner - Jim Ardery; and The Hive Gift Basket Winner - Karen McCulley. 

The Laguna Food Pantry offers free, fresh, nutritious groceries to families and individuals in need who live, work, and attend school in or around Laguna Beach. Their facility on Laguna Canyon Road serves about 500 families each week (though upwards of 170 families a day recently) and they collect and give away about 4,000 lbs. of food every weekday. 

The Laguna Food Pantry has an incredibly dedicated and passionate group of friendly volunteers who welcome shoppers as they arrive to select their choice of foods once a week in their retail-style setting that has had to pivot to adapt to COVID safe procedures. The food items that are offered are purchased from regional food banks and donated by local markets and private donors, and they are fully funded by generous donors, corporate and private foundation grants, churches, schools, and local government. 

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