PAWS/LA & ECF – A Community Partnership

Feb 16

Through our Outreach Program, PAWS/LA is building bridges to other community-based organizations, and according to Raymundo Baltazar, Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator, “Our new partnership with the Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF) represents a win-win union that strengthens the mission of each organization.”

Located in Culver City, ECF is dedicated to helping thousands of infants, youths and adults with special needs live with dignity, self-respect and happiness. Towards that goal, ECF offers a Work Readiness Program that is designed to help their adult constituents get prepared for paid work. For ECF, an essential tool in achieving that preparation is community-based volunteering as it affords valuable opportunities to develop job skills that are transferable to the marketplace.

PAWS/LA is committed to creating programs and services that help our clients keep and care for their companion animals. One of our most essential programs is our Pet Food Bank, housed in our Downtown LA offices. Management of the Food Bank entails not only product procurement, but also tracking inventory, re-packaging of product into manageable sizes and food delivery to homebound clients. With just a limited staff, we rely heavily on our volunteers to keep the Food Bank running smoothly.

In September 2010, the Exceptional Children’s Foundation came to our rescue in a big way! With the help of Ms. Helen Lewis, ECF Program Manager, and her “crew” of enthusiastic, capable adult clients, PAWS/LA’s Food Bank is in tip-top shape. The volunteers from ECF visit the PAWS/LA Pet Food Bank weekly to prepare home deliveries of pet food and supplies, as well as to help tidy and organize the warehouse area.

According to Ms. Lewis, “The time that we spend in the Food Bank provides a work experience for clients enrolled in our Work Readiness program. Through the program we’re empowering them to reach their greatest potential.” When asked, what her staff and clients think of the PAWS/LA partnership, she says, “This has been a very positive experience for the clients and staff in our program. They look forward to coming to your facility. At times, it appears that there is competition with staff as who gets to go to your site. I’ve asked the clients how they like working at PAWS/LA and each person has spoken favorably about what they do and how much they enjoy it. Overall, this relationship has been very good for us and we hope that you will continue to have us work with you.” The partnership between PAWS/LA and ECF has developed to include other volunteer opportunities, such as picking up of donated goods and dog walking.

At PAWS/LA, we believe that we are only as good as the services we provide. Now, with the contribution of ECF, we’re not just delivering food but also pride and hope. If you’re interested in volunteering and/or partnering with PAWS/LA, please contact our Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Raymundo Baltazar at

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