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Foothill Unity Center is among the most respected and effective local non-profit organizations in Southern California.  In the past five years, the Center has distributed literally millions of pounds of food to over 5,000 unduplicated, very low-income families in the local community (Monrovia, Arcadia, Duarte, Sierra Madre and Bradbury).  The Center also provides clothing, motel vouchers, transportation, referrals and other assistance to the homeless and people in crisis as well as important programs for children of low-income families.



Covid 19 Impact

Due to COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic, Foothill Unity Center has had to pivot and shift to meet the needs of its community. In addition to closing their buildings and adjusted their food distributions, which continues presently, with a drive or walk through process, they continue to provide majority of their core programs by phone, virtually, electronic communications, and some in-person activities/events following strict safety precautions.


In 2020, with the impacts of COVID-19 and the pandemic, Foothill Unity Center served 15,650 unduplicated low-income housed and unhoused individuals, with over 280,000 services that includes health, nutrition, COVID education, and resources with its core programs. These counts are exponentially greater compared to the 7,300 individuals served with over 76,000 services in the previous year. 74% of the total served were new clients, accessing services for the first time. During this time, while Foothill Unity Center still focused on its targeted population, they did not turn anyone away in need of assistance, even if they lived outside of the targeted population.



What We Do

Feed the hungry . . .

We currently distribute five to ten tons of food each week — more than one million pounds (five hundred tons) last year.  Our food programs include:


Family Full Food Program

Each month, families receive enough food (canned, dry, frozen food, refrigerated food, bread, fresh produce) including USA foods, to supplement their family for about ten days.  They may return for perishable foods (bread, dairy and fresh produce) once a week.  To qualify, a family must provide identification of all family members, proof of residency and proof that their income is at or below 130% of the national poverty level (NPL).


Family USDA Only Food Program

Qualifying families whose income is higher than 130% of the NPL yet at or below TEFAP requirements (150% of the NPL) are given USDA foods once a month and perishable foods once per week.

Bag Lunch Program

Three times a week, 50-60 substantial bag lunches (enough to last about two days) are given to people and families who are homeless or have no place to store or cook food.  The lunches include sandwiches, instant soups, snack foods, fresh fruit, drinks, flip-top cans, sweets and canned meats.  We add soap, socks, toiletries and blankets (as available).


Supplemental Food Program

On the first Thursday of each month, additional food is distributed to seniors, pregnant or lactating women and children under six (except those receiving WIC).


Senior Food Delivery

As we have become aware of the need to provide groceries to seniors who are shut-in, we have started a program in collaboration with the Monrovia Senior Center.


Other Crisis Assistance Programs

Transitional Services for Victims of Domestic Violence

We collaborate with Santa Anita Family Service to provide food, clothing and household goods to victims of domestic violence throughout the San Gabriel Valley.


Motel Voucher Program

We provide motel vouchers to people who need emergency shelter and have exhausted all other resources.  These vouchers are most often given to women and families with children, or persons who do not have a pattern of being homeless.  We usually provide one to seven nights of vouchers to give us time to help find a longer-term solution.


Clothing/Household Goods Voucher

Through The Rainbow’s End, our boutique/thrift stop at 346 west Huntington Drive in Monrovia, we distribute good used clothing and household items to our families.  Every Tuesday morning we have a Sidewalk Sale for which our clients are given vouchers based on the size of their families.  We appreciate the many donations and support from our community that makes this possible.  The Rainbow’s End, a great place to find new and used items at bargain prices and support our programs at the same time.


We individually assess each client’s needs and often refer them to organizations that can help them return to stability and self-sufficiency through employment counseling, educational assistance, long-term shelter, health care, client advocacy and case management.


Transportation Programs

We provide bus tokens and taxi coupons through a collaboration with the International Institute of Los Angeles.  This helps our clients pick up food, attend job interviews, keep medical appointments and more.


Work Experience/Welfare to Work/Community Service/GAIN

Many welfare recipients gain work experience and develop good work habits through the Foothill Unity Center and then have the references to secure good jobs.  Many complete community service assignments at the Center.


Universal Lifeline Telephone Service – ULTS

Through a special grant project, we are helping many of our clients and others in the community secure telephone service for a very low monthly cost ($2.85 to $5.34).


Making the Holidays happier, warmer . . .

Each year, many individuals and groups from local schools, businesses, civic organizations, police and fire departments donate items and volunteer their time to make our holiday events a happier time for our clients.

Thanksgiving Distributions

With the help from the community, we provide our client families with generous food baskets which include all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.


Christmas Distribution

Every year we have a massive Holiday Distribution Party where hundreds of families receive huge holiday food boxes, new toys for their children, Christmas trees and much, much more.  Last year through the Angel program, nearly 1,300 children received clothes and toys.


Children are our future . . .

After-School Snack Program

We collaborate with local schools to provide daily afternoon nutritious snacks for hundreds of needy children each school year.

Back-to-School Program

Each August, we provide local K-12 grade children of low-income families with the clothing and supplies they need to start the new school year. The community (businesses, churches, etc.) support helps to purchase new school uniforms, underwear, shoes and socks, jackets, school supplies and more for these students.


Every year, dozens of our children are able to enjoy summer camp through our collaboration with local organizations. Las year, 59 children had a full week at resident camp.


Recognizing our supporters and raising funds . . .

Annual Golden Plates Awards Luncheon

A fundraising event, this has become a highlight of the community calendar — and given us a valuable way to thank individuals, organizations and businesses that have been exceptionally supportive of our work.

Annual KABC Eyewitness News Team Hoop Challenge

This is our major fundraiser.  KABC-7 Eyewitness News anchors and reporters help raise funds by taking on local businesses who challenge them on the basketball court in this fun and exciting event each March.

Volunteers and Staff . . .

The Center staff is minimal and consists only of ten employees.  The great majority of the work required to run the Center and its store is provided by dedicated volunteers from the communities we serve.  Last year, those volunteers contributed nearly thirty-thousand hours of time to our organizations.


Our Funding comes from . . .

As a community organization, we receive support from many local churches (such as Church of the Good Shepherd in Arcadia), businesses, individuals and foundations.  A small percentage (less than 30%) of our funds come from the government (county, state and federal).  The Foothill Unity Center Auxiliary and fund-raisers provide the balance of funding.  Over 91% of each dollar goes to our programs, with only 4.5% administration and 4% fundraising cost.  Truly, the Foothill Unity Center is a community effort.



Our Awards include . . .

Community Spirit Award

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank singled our Foothill Unity Center from the 975 Los Angeles County charities it serves for this coveted honor.

Hunger Fighter Award

The California Hunger Action Coalition presented this honor to Executive Director Joan Whitenack “for dedication, service and deep personal commitment to end hunger in California.”

Tony Collier Award

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s top honor was presented to Joan Whitenack for her accomplishments and “leadership in the war against hunger.”


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