In the beginning WPE had 100 volunteers (which is amazing), now they have 400+ volunteers joyfully giving their time to helping those in need. On top of the food that they deliver to those in need, WPE started a Free General Store (I bet you didn't know that). The Free General Store program (FGS) distributes new and like new clothing, toys & books to those in need. They do this by bringing a unique “Mobile Boutique” to impoverished neighborhoods. FGS also makes direct distributions several times a week to shelters and occupational training programs. Their standards for donations are pretty high. Everything they give out comes from the heart, and it has to be to the standard as if you were giving it to a loved one or friend (so basically, new or almost new). The clothing that doesn't quite meet up to that standard, gets donated to an organization that provides clothing to people in Africa (even that's amazing). Currently, FGS is doing its Cold Weather Clothing Program for this winter. The program’s ambitious goal is to acquire at least 3,000 items of new or like-new clothing—coats, pants, shirts, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, underwear, and boots—to be given to the homeless and others in great need.
Did you know that Contra Costa County is the 4th richest county in California and that there are over 115,000 living on or below the poverty line. So, as you can see there are a lot of people in Contra Costa County that can’t afford to feed or clothe themselves properly, and nonprofit organizations and shelters here often don’t have enough resources to serve them. This is why organizations like White Pony Express are desperately needed in our community. They are the connecting link between those with surplus and those in need.
Here are some other facts about WPE...
- They now have a fleet of vans and a refrigerated truck for deliveries and pickup
- To date, they have delivered about 5.8 million pounds of food (approximately 5,000 lbs of food/day)
- They are starting a school pantry program (for some kids, their only meal is at school)
- The Free General Store gives out sleeping bags and backpacks filled with basic necessities (gloves, blanket, etc) to the homeless.
Thank you, Reid Edwards, for requesting that White Pony Express be my next #TinaTuesday. And, thank you Gary Conner for taking the time to educate me about the amazing impact that White Pony Express is creating in our community.