Leadership consultant Gloria Miele, Ph.D. lives in San Diego now, but the Camarillo native remains devoted to the county where she grew up—especially when it comes to Food Share of Ventura County. “I feel like I’m part of a long legacy of community supporters,” Miele said. “My mom was a Food Share volunteer in the ‘80s and would help with food distribution, back when it was mainly government cheese—those big blocks of Velveeta.”

Gloria with her mom and husband.

Food Share has evolved, now offering a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, protein and canned goods, and the Miele family donation has also changed. After the COVID-19 pandemic created hardships for so many, Miele and her husband decided to set up recurring monthly donations.  

“My husband and I are both white collar professionals who were able to work from home with no disruption to our lives such as our ability to eat,” she said. “When we saw the amazing need and the lineup of cars as people were losing their jobs and couldn’t eat, we said ‘We have to throw down.’”

No matter the size of the donation, making it a regular, recurring donation helps Food Share enormously, according to Food Share President & Chief Executive Officer Monica White. “Donors who give on a regular basis, whether that’s weekly, monthly or quarterly, are critical in helping to provide us with a stable source of funding,” White said. “That’s been particularly important in recent years with disasters like the Thomas Fire and the pandemic when we’ve needed to rapidly expand our operations to provide an emergency response. Having a predictable income stream allows us to be nimble and responsive to immediate needs.” 

Recurring donor Janie Douglas, 73, of Camarillo has always worn her heart on her sleeve. Now she wears two hearts: one on each forearm. “I got my first tattoo at 70,” she said. “It’s a blue heart. And I have another that’s pink and blue.” The pink and blue represent the types of cancer that Douglas’ mother and grandmother had, and the blue is for the colon cancer her daughter is fighting now.

Janie Douglas

Despite what her family is going through, Douglas’ compassion continues to extend beyond her family to the larger community—especially when it comes to Food Share. “I see people out with signs asking for money for food,” she said. “I’m a sucker for that kind of request. Just because I know people are hurting. I don’t care and I don’t pretend to know what happened to them. I just help.”

Now that Douglas is retired, she is able to spend more time with her family, which consists of her husband, Kevin, four adult children, eight grandchildren, and her ex-husband, who plays poker with Kevin. She also now has more time to volunteer with Food Share, packing food boxes or manning one of the pop-up pantries around the county, with Kevin joining her when he can.

The couple decided to set up recurring donations for Food Share for one simple reason: there are people in need.  “I find it frustrating that most people need to actually experience hunger in order to understand it,” Douglas said. “The need keeps rising —especially our senior population and all I’ve read and seen during my experience volunteering with Food Share. Life happens.”

For Greg and Nicole Comeaux of Newbury Park, setting up recurring donations made sense to both their heads and their hearts. 

Greg and Nicole Comeaux

From a practical standpoint, Amgen, where Greg works in human resources, matches his donation, and setting up recurring donations is easy. “It’s so convenient,” he said. “You just set it up and forget it.”

The regular donations the Greg and Nicole Comeaux make come from their hearts, too, as neither can imagine how difficult it would be to lack something as fundamental as food. “For me it just illustrated something I pretty much take for granted,” he said. “It isn’t such a secure or assumed thing for so many.”

Greg and Nicole first volunteered for Food Share in 2018 as part of an Amgen volunteer outreach effort, and they have been a part of the Food Share family ever since. Both are devoted to their church, too, and to the acts of charity that arise from a strong sense of faith, such as a sustained gift to Food Share. “When you give, you also receive,” he said. “It feels good to be a part of something so well-intended.”

Become a G.E.M! 

To reflect the importance of those regular donations to our mission we have a new name for our recurring givers –  G.E.Ms (Give Every Monthers). Become a G.E.M and you’ll get early access to event tickets, an invitation to an exclusive, monthly lunch and behind-the-scenes tour with our President & CEO, Monica White, plus fewer solicitations from us.

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