Event Highlights

Poverty Conference 2014: Hungry for Good Food


More than 200 people attended the 7th Annual MENDing Poverty Conference held at the MEND Center on June 18th, 2014. The theme this year, Hungry for Good Food, brought together nonprofit agency executives, poverty experts, media experts and funders from across the Los Angeles region to network and hear great speakers focused on improving services for people living in poverty.

The opening welcome was given by Fred Ali, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, who opened the conference by briefly highlighting how nonprofits and the funders supporting them can address the capacity related challenges of providing hunger and nutrition-related services. The Honorable Zev Yaroslavsky was presented with a plaque for his outstanding support of the MENDing Poverty Conference from its inception and his many years of public service. Councilmember Felipe Fuentes, an avid gardener, was also on hand to talk about the importance of the conference theme in relation to poverty. Joel Berg, Executive Director of New York City’s Coalition Against Hunger, was the morning keynote speaker. He presented a vivid historical analysis of how public health problems in the past have been addressed by massive government action.

After a networking break, attendees participated in one of three workshops which included Food and Community: Gardening as a Catalyst for Social Change; Making it Easier to Eat Healthy; and Enhancing Good Nutrition and Reducing Hunger Through Advocacy.

The lunch keynote address was given by Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW’s Good Food. She highlighted recent research indicating that consumption of fat may not be as much responsible for obesity as had been previously believed, but that the health risks of sugar are considerable.

The conference hosts were MEND, Valley Nonprofit Resources, in partnership with Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The sponsors included The California Wellness Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, The California Endowment, The Honorable Felipe Fuentes, Weingart Foundation, The Angell Foundation, The Honorable Zev Yaroslavsky, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Whole Foods and Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County.

View photos from the event on MEND’s Flickr account.

Give Kids a Smile Event

Give Kids A Smile Event

Once again, MEND and the San Fernando Valley Dental Society have come together at our annual Give Kids A Smile event, to provide underprivileged children with the opportunity to see a dentist and keep their teeth healthy! The successful event was held on February 7th at the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center where over 220 underprivileged preschool aged children were seen throughout the day.

Our dentists, members of the San Fernando Valley Dental Society (and two of which volunteer in MEND’s very own Dental Clinic), volunteered their time to provide each child with a dental screening and fluoride treatment. Children and their families were then also provided with the screening results as well as with referrals to other dental clinics where they may go for follow up care, by the many other volunteers and staff who donated their time to the event. Dental products, toothbrushes and more were also provided to the children to help them keep their smiles healthy.

MEND Hosts “Friends for Good” Breakfast

Friends for Good Breakfast 2013

Supporters, friends, and partners of MEND enjoyed good food, camaraderie, and insights at a “Friends for Good” breakfast on October 2 at the MEND Center.

Highlighting the event were Los Angeles City Council Member Felipe Fuentes, who spoke of his appreciation for MEND’s new Home Garden Training Program, and keynoter Jonathan Weedman, senior vice president for the Wells Fargo Foundation, whose organization gave MEND the $300,000 grant that funded the program, among other initiatives.

In his keynote address, Mr. Weedman quoted Martin Luther King’s famous question, “What are you doing for others?” He then told his audience, “All of you in the room today are embracing those words.” He concluded his remarks with a spontaneous pledge to donate $10,000 to MEND’s 2013 Christmas program.

One of the families that has benefited from the Home Garden Program also spoke at the event. Victor Zavalza and Melba Martinez described their own experience with the home garden program. After experiencing some health problems in their family, they felt the need to improve their diet for themselves and their children, and signed up for a home garden. Following lessons in gardening and cooking, they now grow and eat their own tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and other vegetables.

Other speakers at the breakfast included MEND Governing Board Chair Susan Blumenfeld, Pastor Jaime Zavala of Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock, and MEND President and CEO Marianne Haver Hill.

The morning concluded with tours of the MEND Center led by the organization’s co-founders, Ed and Carolyn Rose, as well as other staff members.

All In For MEND 2012!

MEND held its popular Casino Night and Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament on Saturday October 20 this year at the beautiful Galpin Ford Vintage Car Museum; The Collection.  In addition to Poker, attendees played Roulette and Craps for a chance to win great prizes. They also enjoyed delicious food and a cash bar. 

All proceeds benefit MEND’s vital work to support and empower our neighbors in poverty. MEND reaches more than 38,000 impoverished individuals each month, and utilizes more than 4000 volunteers to implement its services, with less than 6% of revenues going to fundraising and overhead.

Thanks to all who participated this year. To see photos of the event click here:

All In For MEND 2012

Head to Toes 2012


August 29, 2012:

At MEND’s annual Head to Toes event at the MEND center, more than 200 third-grade students were provided with new shoes, vision exams, and dental screenings and fluoride treatments. The students were entertained with arts and crafts and exercise activities, and at the end of the event received  a new backpack, donated by the Walt Disney Company, and new basic school supplies donated by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

Third Graders at Head to Toes

View more photos.