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Compton Food Pantry - Background/History

The Compton Chamber of Commerce brought into life the Compton Food Pantry Program during the early stages of the global COVID 19 pandemic in accordance with the “shelter in place” mandated by the California Governor Gavin Newsom.



Background/History—


In response to the pandemic, the city under the leadership of former Mayor Aja Brown launched "Compton United Response Effort" (CURE). The mission critical food security partnership was formed between non-profit agencies across the city and private sector contributors to combat food insecurity in Compton during and after the pandemic.


During the early stages of the pandemic, former Compton Mayor Aja Brown has been a strong proponent of the Compton Food Pantry program. She advocated for the Compton Food Pantry as she stated that she didn't want any food insecurities in Compton.


From March 2020 until January 2021 - the City of Compton provided facilities at Compton Career Link for the pantry operation. The Compton Chamber of Commerce assumed the operational management of the program and supplied commercial refrigeration units for cold storage of fresh products.



The pantry program officially launched in March 2020 with eight initial volunteers most of whom were seniors from our community. The number of volunteer staff grew quickly. As the former Mayor Aja Brown witnessed the well managed operation and growing number of volunteers, her support grew.


The Compton Food Pantry initially began as a food and sanitary supplies “delivery” service during period of “shelter in place” ordinance of the State of California for the most vulnerable members of our community, namely seniors, veterans and disabled residents of our greater Compton region.


As the Compton Food Pantry operations proceeded, many residents reached out to the former mayor's office and other Council members with the request to be placed on the pantry's delivery list. The list of residents in need was growing exponentially!


With relentlessly spreading pandemic, the food and sanitary supplies in the grocery market shelves were diminishing fast. The number of residents in need grew faster with increasing shortages of food and supplies. The residents in need benefiting from the pantry program now grew from seniors, veterans, and disabled, to virtually every resident. While the Compton Food Pantry was able to secure reliable food supply resources in abundance, distribution to the masses became a huge challenge.


During the initial phase of the pantry operation, the Compton Food Pantry was renting a cargo van for deliveries; and a commercial truck for food pick up from generous suppliers. The “one” rental delivery van quickly proved to be totally insufficient. The program's immediate needs were transportation and volunteers.


The CURE representatives from Love & Unity Christian Fellowship under the leadership of Apostle Ron Hill sent out a call to its membership for volunteers to assist with the program. In a very short time, the in house volunteer team grew from initial eight members to twenty preparing the weekly pre-portioned and packaged in U-Haul boxes and bags. Each box was prepared for a family of six.




Additionally, Love & Unity Christian Fellowship volunteered their transportation ministry to assist with the pantry program. While the transportation team of the Fellowship under the supervision of Elder Branch took over the distribution to senior facilities, the Compton Food Pantry transportation team with the one rental van continued to deliver fresh and canned food and sanitary supplies to the homes of seniors, veterans, and disabled.


During this period, the following senior facilities (each housing 80 to 200 residents) in Compton were served:

  • The Metro Senior Homes

  • Seasons Senior Apartments

  • Santa Fe Heights Health Center

  • Rosecrans Manor

  • St. Timothy’s Tower & Manor

  • South Bay Retirement Home

  • Hickory Senior Apartments

  • Logan Plaza Senior Home

  • WLCAC Ramona Estates Retirement Home


Through CURE weekly meetings, the Compton Food Pantry was also able to arrange for further distribution service support through a commercial transportation company which provided seven vans and two drivers per van to deliver food and sanitary supplies weekly to the meanwhile rapidly growing list of seniors, veterans and disabled.


At this time, the Compton Food Pantry expanded its operations from “delivery only” to a drive through pantry. As the participants continued to grow, so did the food resources. It was at this stage that the third component of the Compton Food Pantry was added—a “farmer’s market” style shopping under tents.


The Compton Food Pantry now have three components:

1) Weekly delivery to seniors, veterans and disabled (over 100 on the list - the participants’ list continue to grow).

2) Drive through – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

3) “Farmer’s Market” style shopping for ‘walk up residents who are shopping for bulk items of vegetables, fruits, and canned foods.



In addition to the aforementioned participants, the Compton Food Pantry served weekly five churches on Wednesdays, the client list of Volunteers of America, and two Regional Facility client lists.


The Compton Food Pantry under the auspices of the Compton Chamber of Commerce has been serving the Compton community successively and without interruption since its inception in March 2020.

Alone in its first year of operations, 2020, the Compton Food Pantry sustainably assisted over 100,00 people with the selfless and dedicated assistance of all aforementioned cohorts and volunteers.



The Compton Food Pantry operated at 700 N. Bullis Road location in Compton (Compton Housing Authority Building and Compton Chamber of Commerce office location) from March 2020 to January 2021.





During the peak of the pandemic with ever increasing number of Compton residents in need, the Compton Food Pantry moved from 700 N. Bullis Road location to the Lueders Park located at the corner of N. Bullis Road and Rosecrans Avenue.


The pantry operations continued at the Lueders Park Community Center from January 2021 through January 2022. As the need for food grew, the residents lined up weekly to receive food, and pantry's deliveries continued to peak.



In February 2022, the Compton Food Pantry program was welcomed by St. James AME Church under the tutelage of Pastor Nicolette Birdsong. Soon after, the Compton Food Pantry moved its operations to the St. James AME Church. At the present time, we are blessed with our new home at the St. James AME Church.


Current Pantry Location: St. James AME Church

(St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church)

Address: 601 W. Rosecrans Ave., Compton, CA 90222

(at the corner of Rosecrans/Matthisen) Hours of operation:

Delivery to seniors/disabled: Fridays 10 am – 3 pm

Community distribution: Saturdays 11 am – 3 pm

Church distribution: Sundays 12 noon – 1 pm


Please contact the Compton Chamber of Commerce if you have any questions regarding the Compton Food Pantry program, to be added on the recipient list, or apply to volunteer.


To learn more about the history/background of the Compton Food Pantry, please visit our website at the following link: https://www.comptonchamberofcommerce.org/compton-food-pantry .

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