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    SLATE Bistro + Craft Bar donates hundreds of meals to families of Casa Pacifica

    Camarillo, CA – Vince Pillard, owner of SLATE Bistro + Craft Bar in Camarillo teamed up with his bartender and owner of Sweetwater Outpost, Justyn Varvais to deliver more than 900 individual meals to Casa Pacifica families in need. Families from Casa Pacifica’s Wraparound Program, Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), Foster Families Programs, and Nonpublic School all received meals. “We want to make sure that we’re able to help others who are suffering if we’re doing okay,” said Pillard.

    Pillard was one of many local business owners who found themselves scrambling to adjust in the face of COVID-19. “We’ve been pretty quick to adapt and be proactive,” he said of the recent shift. Varvais started a “Community Meal Fund” on GoFundMe with the goal of raising $2,500 to distribute meals to those in need, no questions asked. Pillard called longtime friend Carrie Hughes, Chief Development Officer of Casa Pacifica, to see if there were any families in need of meals. Casa Pacifica serves 500 children and families daily, most of whom are in the community.

    “Initially, we were going to provide one take-and-bake meal for four people, but then we decided to do three meals. Since we’re doing it, we might as well do more,” said Vince about the plan to give meals out. Each meal is different and is ready to put in the oven. Chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes, chicken curry and rice – these dishes and more were on the menu for the thankful families. Vince’s staff, including Justyn and his mother, along with volunteers took routes to drop off the food. Don Harper, owner of Sessions at The Loft in Camarillo was among the volunteers. Casa Pacifica’s Nonpublic School staff added the meals to their weekly deliveries of school work and supplies to the kids. The special deliveries were received by thankful families and their children, eager for the treat of restaurant meal.

    At the end of the day, several meals were not delivered because of wrong addresses – worried about the families who didn’t receive their anticipated meals, Vince and Carrie tracked down the correct addresses and Vince delivered the meals himself. “I ended up at a house in Fillmore and rang the doorbell. The woman who answered was so grateful and as she turned to go back inside, a little girl ran out the door, hugged my legs, and said ‘thank you,’ – that was probably the best moment of all of this. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, that’s all that matters,” said Vince.

    One TBS family said, “Thank you so much for thinking of us and providing us with the resource. We are so grateful to Slate for being so generous during this time. There was so much food and we loved all of it.” Another child’s grandmother said she “really appreciated the meal and was touched that someone thought of her.” There was such an abundance of food she was able to freeze some for another day. And yet another family was thankful just for the relief from coming home and not having to cook after a long day of work.

    The children and families of Casa Pacifica are just some of the many struggling with financial, food, and job insecurity during this difficult time. Community members like Vince and Justyn, who give generously even during uncertain times, make us proud to call Ventura County home.

    The GoFundMe Community Meal Fund is still live, to donate please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/frmwrm


    Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. It’s mission is to restore hope, enhance resilience, and strengthen community connections for children, young adults and families at the most challenging times of their lives. The agency is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in both counties and administers a number of community-based programs designed to strengthen families and keep children in their homes and communities. Casa Pacifica is also a foster family agency, which recruits and trains families for potential placement with a foster youth. For more information about Casa Pacifica visit its website www.casapacifica.org or call the Development & Public Relations Department at (805) 445-7800.


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