Locals receive packages of groceries and essential items

The Pico Neighborhood Association (PNA) and Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC) have joined forces to deliver packages of groceries and essential items to local seniors and families in need.

The idea for the Pico We Care initiative came from Ashil Srivastava who is a PYFC youth leader and 11th grader at Samohi.

“It’s very hard for senior citizens to go to the grocery store because of coronavirus”, stated Srivastava, “so we wanted to find a way to eradicate that risk and also make groceries available to those who couldn’t afford them”.

Srivastava, alongside a team of PNA and PYFC volunteers, has delivered 160 packages to community members since April. The packages consist of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, rice, beans, oatmeal, fruit, and tea.

The project is funded by local donations and a $1000 grant from the PNA. The organizers are impressed by the generosity of donors, which has allowed them to scale up their reach from 25 households to 38.

“The Pico Neighborhood is a resilient community and when our community takes action to serve others, it spreads goodwill, kindness and compassion throughout our City”, stated PNA Chair Oscar de la Torre.

By taking time to speak with care package recipients, the team has been able to adapt the contents of packages to better meet people’s needs. Based on this feedback, they recently added hand sanitizer and plan to include masks in the future.

The Pico We Care team initially used their community knowledge to locate people in need and have been able to find more households through referrals from current recipients and an online newsletter. Volunteers have completed six rounds of deliveries and aim to continue them on a biweekly basis for the duration of the pandemic.

“You can’t just give some groceries one week and be done”, explained Srivastava. “We want to continue it because people are truly dependent on it and we don’t want to let them down”.

According to de la Torre, recipients have been extremely grateful for the safe and free delivery of supplies as well as the social aspect of the biweekly check-ins. He has received emails from people who don’t live in the city expressing gratitude that someone is there to help out their grandmother or grandfather.

A small donation goes a long way. By purchasing supplies in bulk the team is able to produce each package for around $12. The volunteers are developing an online donation platform to help expand their reach and increase the ease of donating.

If you know someone who can benefit from receiving a care package or would like to donate or volunteer, please contact PYFC at 310-396-7101 or admin@picoyouth.org.