Volume 3 | June 2017
Notes from the Executive Coordinator
All of us taking care of all of us.

“All of us taking care of all of us.”  Those were the closing words of our founder, Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, last October at our Volunteer Appreciation party. That summary of White Pony Express came to mind as the results of our East Bay Gives campaign unfolded. Many of you know that WPE was first in the number of donors, first in total donations, and first in prize money. All together, you and our other supporters contributed about $128,000 in one day! This sparkling result was due largely to our volunteers’ efforts, especially those of the project manager Jeanne Kerr and her steady companions Judith Parker (what doesn’t she do?), Rosalind Boukis, our social media maven, and our East Coast helper Gary Rutkin . They put in endless hours preparing the way for this successful run. WPE has the best volunteers!—every year. And we thank all you who participated by taking photos, donating, or cheering on the effort.

This success provides tremendous visibility for our programs. The money raised almost pays for the lease on both Distribution Centers for a whole year! By taking care of ourselves we gain the resources to take care of others.

To sustain and grow, we need to increase our most valuable resource—volunteers.  

Our Volunteer Team is doing an excellent job of getting the word out, but there are only a few of them. There are hundreds of the rest of us. So, when it seems natural and easy, let’s let our friends and colleagues know about the work of White Pony Express and what we are doing to help.  If possible, ask directly whether they might like to volunteer, also. With more volunteers, we can deliver more food, offer more Mobile Boutiques, and create impactful programs for those who are homeless. It is all about a loving heart and a willingness to act. If each of us helps bring in one new person in the next year, we will have 400 new volunteers!
  Gary Rutkin

Left to right- Rosalind Boukis, Jeanne Kerr and Judith Parker

We are grateful for the generous support from: SMPS Family Fund - $7,500 for Developmental Toys, Lafayette Community Foundation - $2,500, Kaiser Permanente Community Fund - $5,000, and Bank of America - $10,400. We are also grateful for the anonymous donor who provided $50,000 in matching funds, and $25,000 in direct donations to our EBG campaign.

Hot Off The Presses!
The White Pony Express truck Suzy was recently stolen and quickly found thanks to the extensive news coverage (all four network stations plus KNBR) that led a passerby to spot the truck. We are grateful for the quick action by both the Pleasant Hill and San Jose Police Departments and the generosity of Matos Tow Company that donated their fee to bring Suzy back to us from San Jose. Colorzone generously agreed to replace the logo, damaged by an attempt to cover it, for free. 
Click above for video or read more at:
Congratulations Mary Brooks!
Mary Brooks, WPE volunteer extraordinaire, was installed last week as the Chair of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Mary is not only a Board member, she is also co-chair of FGS and coordinates the Mobile Boutique Team, the Communications Team, the Procurement Team, and the Makai Team! All of this while holding a demanding position as a Senior Vice-President at Raymond James. In her acceptance speech, she" highlighted  her work with her two favorite non-profit organizations: Chamber of Commerce and White Pony Express. She outlined 6 initiatives that the Board of Directors have targeted for the next few years. A major announcement was made that the Chamber will be launching a Foundation whose mission is to 1) provide programs for the development of leadership qualities,
2) foster education and provide a link between education and the business community, and 3) provide leadership and resources to other non-profit groups. Mary will serve as chair for one year.

You can listen to her installation presentation which mentions WPE by clicking here  Mary Brooks WC Chamber presentation.

From the left: Kate Boisvert, Erica Brooks, Mary Brooks and Peter Brooks
Guest Tom Beatty, next to Gary Conner, Executive Coordinator, is very pleased with his new bag of clothes.

What a joyful day of sharing at Loaves and Fishes last month!

Through your dedication and loving support , and the sponsorship by The Cheesecake Factory/Oscar & Evelyn Overton Foundation, we served over 200 people at our Boutique on Sunday, April 23, in Martinez, giving away more than 2,650 items of much-needed clothing, toys, and children's books, as well as backpacks filled with items needed by this mostly homeless population. The addition of an "outdoor café” served bagged lunches, provided by a local middle school, across the street and our Mobile Grocery, with more than a ton of food, allowed us to feed people who were hungry and gave us the opportunity to make new friends in the neighborhood. As always, we welcome your thoughts, feedback, and stories.
Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Events
SAVE THE DATE:  Our next Mobile Boutique is on Saturday, June 10th at the Unity in Community event in Bay Point, also sponsored by The Cheesecake Factory and its Oscar & Evelyn Overton Foundation. This vibrant all-day public event celebrates the rich diversity of the Bay Point community. Families learn about local services and resources, play games, and meet their neighbors. A nutritious free lunch is provided for the first several hundred people who attend. Live entertainment, booths from over 50 community organization booths, and raffles for youth and families round out the activities. And the Free General Store will be in the middle of it all for the third year in a row! Last year we gave away 8,500 items at this event. A full Mobile Boutique with clothing and shoes for all ages, children’s toys, books, and games operates from 10 am to 2:15 pm. We expect to welcome over 500 guests at this delightful event. We will have two shifts for Boutique hosts and three volunteer crew shifts for loading and transport.

We need many more volunteers!

So please sign up today to help us serve the Bay Point Community.
E-mail Emily to volunteer.      

Our next Circle Café, our monthly social event, is on Sunday, July 9 from 2-4 pm at WPE at 3380 Vincent Road, Pleasant Hill is open to all volunteers, guests or anyone wanting to learn more about WPE. Peter Brooks WPI Coordinator will share some stories about WPI’s work with homeless individuals and families in Contra Costa County. We will be serving a special “summer” treat – Ice Cream Sundaes!

The annual White Pony Express Birthday and Volunteer Appreciation Barbeque on Saturday October 1 at Pleasant Hill Community Park from 2-5pm. Bring your families or close friends. There will be music, barbeque, and a special gift for all of us from all of us. 

If you like to plan parties, join our event committee, contact Judith.

Christmas in April
Many thanks to the National Charity League Rolling Hills Chapter for donating many beautiful and warm winter coats for our Cold Weather Clothing Drive. Ainsley Jacobsen and Paige Pecoraro, accompanied by their mothers Tina and Diane, delivered the coats on behalf of the Rolling Hills NCL Chapter.  Tina's t-shirt says, "Service from the heart/ National Charity League". We had “Christmas in April” when they brought these coats in Christmas shopping bags!  

From the left: Diane Pecoraro, Ainsley Jacobsen, Tina Jacobsen, and Paige Pecoraro from NCL Rolling Hills

Food Distribution Superhighway

With the burgeoning success of WPE has come an increased need for the ability to organize volunteer information efficiently and streamline our scheduling. Our IT team, led by Casandra Smith, has configured new software (Volunteer Impact), and Everett Lien is fast becoming an expert.

Everett will teach us all how to take advantage of this impressive new system. Two kiosks with touch screens have been added to the Food Rescue workroom, thanks to Jim Kirkpatrick. These computers run Volunteer Impact. VI has a user profile for every volunteer, and this information matches volunteers to scheduled pickups and deliveries based on availability and abilities (e.g., lifting).  

After a short training session, volunteers can arrive at the Distribution Center, login, obtain all the information they need for their run, and head out into the County to share the abundance with all! And there will be mobile-device access for recipient and donor information on- the- go. Making essential information available to everyone opens doors for more volunteers to serve more people more effectively.

New Staff Members
Jeff O’Hearn joins WPE staff
We are delighted to welcome Jeff O'Hearn as our Food Rescue Operations Coordinator. Jeff brings a wealth of experience and skills to this important position. Jeff will lead efforts to change and optimize the food rescue operations and procedures. He will work closely with Everett Lein and our two dispatchers Patty Mitchell and Diana Fitzgerald. 
Free General Store “OPS” Team
From the left: Dana DeVeau,Virgil White, Jim Kirkpatrick and Mandy Nakaya - FGS Co-Chair 
For information about volunteering at any of the scheduled workshops  for clothing, toys, and bookat the Distribution Center, please contact Mandy Nakaya at
How The Free General Store Works
Everything starts at our hub, the Distribution Center. Here is where all donations are received—including almost 100 pallets of new items from major retailers last year. Both new and like-new are processed, and put into inventory in advance of our Mobile Boutiques. Our designers then put together a hundred or more outfits to show our guests how to put items together for an up-to-date look. Then thousands of items are packed into many bins for transport to the Mobile Boutique.  The Distribution Center also provides direct distributions to agencies who serve those in need , such as schools, interim shelters, churches , and individuals or families with immediate needs or dire circumstances.

Dana DeVeau, Jim Kirkpatrick , and Virgil White oversee the day -to -day operations and the flow of goods into and out of the Distribution Center. Mandy Nakaya rounds out the Operations Team (DC-OPS) by recruiting, orienting, and scheduling our wonderful volunteers without whom our work could not be done!

The team also oversees the winter Cold Weather Clothing Project and the Emergency Backpacks Project, which is accomplished in close collaboration with other Free General Store team members and the White Pony Inn.

We happily report the growth of the Distribution Center. We have reconfigured and expanded the dock for faster, easier access to inventory. Soon the Children’s Department will move into a more spacious and brighter room.  

Current Volunteers Urged to Spread the Word that Volunteer Van Drivers and Runners Are Needed 

White Pony Express is currently experiencing a shortage of van drivers and runners for our food rescue program.  As you know, WPE picks up and delivers food seven days a week. Many recipients are heavily dependent upon our food deliveries for their services.  Our campaign to attract more drivers/runners could use your help in distributing our colorful recruitment cards to businesses, schools, and organizations when you are shopping or out on the town.  While some stores haven’t allowed the card to be placed in their store windows, we have received permission to post the sign in employee lunch or break rooms.  And if a business has a public bulletin board, you could ask to post it there.

Here’s a suggested script that you could use.

Hello.   My name is ___________, and I am a volunteer with the nonprofit White Pony Express, located in Pleasant Hill.   Our mission is to eliminate hunger and poverty in Contra Costa County.  We are currently in need of drivers and driver assistants to help pick and deliver surplus food to feed the hungry. 

A Little Help
Would you consider posting this flyer in your employee lunch room?

Also ask about posting on bulletin boards if available.

Just click here for a file you can print out.

Thank you.  Contact Steve Spraitzer for more information.
Homeless People Need Our Help!
We need volunteers who would like to work on new initiatives for homeless people. In the past, White Pony Inn has concentrated on helping specific individuals. It is now looking at broader community projects. If you would like to be a part of a project oriented team, you will find a great opportunity here. Please email:  Joy Hedgepath, or call her: 925-407-7278.
Frank Szymanski, WPE Van Driver

A Mother’s Day Gift.

The last stop on my East County delivery run is Salvation Army in Antioch. And on a Wednesday before Mother’s Day in 2016, I had just pulled up in front of their building and had opened the doors of the White Pony van in preparation for unloading. And as is usually the case, I had an abundance of flowers to be handed out , in addition to the food supplies.
As I started unloading, I noticed a middle-aged African-American lady with mobility problems limping slowly across the parking lot assisted by a boy who looked about ten-years-old. She had come to the Salvation Army to pick up her allotment of groceries.
The boy looked into the van, and then approached me, leaving the lady to proceed on her own. He politely asked, “Mister, would it be OK if I had some flowers? Mother’s Day is coming up, and I have no money to buy my mother anything.”
I replied that he certainly could and invited him to pick out the most beautiful flowers he could  find for his mother. He selected a large fanciful bouquet and returned to the car.
I continued to complete my delivery and was ready to start the van when I noticed the lady returning with her bag of groceries. As I waited while she slowly made her way back to the car, I saw the young boy with the flowers walking toward her. And not 20 feet in front of the van, he held out his Mother’s Day gift for his mother. And even from that distance, I could see the tears we ll up in her eyes, and I watched as the two of them embraced in the most affectionate display of mother and son love.
Driving back to the yard, I couldn’t get touching picture of what I just witnessed out of my mind, and I thought how proud I am to be part of an organization that provides such a positive impact on people’s lives, and which, on occasions such as this, goes far beyond the mere delivery of groceries. 
WE want to hear from you on Facebook or twitter!
Please share your thoughts, experiences, pictures or a video on why you like to work with White Pony Express. We will post them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and make you a star! Email them to Rosalind or Text (925) 351-7773

Click on the WPE social media links in the footer of this newsletter. Sign up. Helping others in need brings joy. Share the WPE joy!
White Pony Express | 3380 Vincent Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94595