Salinas CA, to Montebello, CA
“Connecting two negatives to a positive”
By Sydney Loeper July 20, 2020
On July 16th, The Farmlink Project helped deliver 16,500 pounds of mixed produce from Taylor Farms in Salinas, California to Heart of Compassion Food Distribution in Montebello, California.
Pastor Eric Tietze founded Heart of Compassion (HOC) in 1993 in Montebello, CA. According to Sean Strickling, a devoted employee with HOC, Pastor Eric saw that people struggled to access fresh food and wanted to make their lives a little easier by preparing and delivering meals. Pastor Eric prepared those first few meals himself, marking the start of Heart of Compassion Food Distribution. Today, Pastor Eric and his organization reside in a 20,000-square-foot facility where they repackage food to distribute directly to community members and to smaller food pantries and ministries in the Los Angeles area. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March, HOC has seen tremendous growth in the number of families they serve each week. Originally, they served around 45 families; now, their demand has increased to over 600 families per week!
Heart of Compassion primarily focuses on food distribution, but they also provide “transitional housing, occupational training, and vocational rehabilitation” to those in need. While speaking with Sean, he shared his story of how he began working with HOC. During a time in his life when Sean needed a “restart”, he joined the Men’s Rehabilitation home where he lived for the duration of the twelve-month program. Through this program and prior professional experience, “all the doors opened up,” and the impact the program left on him inspired Sean to give back and work with the Heart of Compassion community.
Sean passionately stated that being on the HOC team has allowed him to “fulfill his purpose.” He has witnessed the number of people that have been positively affected by HOC and “that direct impact will always stay with [him].”
HOC will repack the mixed produce from this delivery into seven-pound bags to distribute to the families in their community. Heart of Compassion has seen a dramatic increase in demand, but they have had a great number of volunteers willing to help. To stay safe, they have taken precautions like temperature checks and providing gloves and masks. “Initially, there was a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment),” Sean stated, but volunteers—young and old–continue to provide their services to this amazing organization.
Sean is grateful for The Farmlink Project “connecting two negatives to a positive” and recognizing the constant need that food distributors have to feed hundreds of families. We would like to thank Taylor Farms for providing fresh produce, and we are amazed at the wonderful work Heart of Compassion does for their families every day and look forward to working with Taylor Farms and Heart of Compassion in the future.