La Verne CEO Recognized for Charitable Work: When People Want Things Done, They Go See Brown

November 22, 2011
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Vicki Brown, CEO of Sowing Seeds for Life, hosted...

Sowing Seeds for Life is preparing to hold its fourth annual "Christmas in the Park" on Dec. 3 at Ganesha Park. Serving as one of Santa's helpers last year was La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick, pictured here with SSFL CEO Vicki Brown.

Vicki Brown, the founder and CEO of Sowing Seeds for Life, was named this year’s winner of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s Tony Collier Award for her dedicated commitment in the fight against hunger.

Sowing Seeds for Life is one of the 600-plus food pantries affiliated with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank that distributes food in L.A. County. SSFL, as it is known for short, distributes food to the needy in the East San Gabriel Valley on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 3 to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of DPI Labs, located at 1350 Arrow Highway in La Verne. The charity also distributes food at other locations at various times — and provides a variety of services to the needy as well.

Sowing Seeds for Life’s fourth annual “Christmas in the Park” toy giveaway is scheduled for Dec. 3, noon to 4 p.m., at Ganesha Park at 1575 North White Avenue in Pomona. Another toy giveaway is scheduled for Dec. 21 during a regularly scheduled food pantry giveaway at DPI Labs.

Brown, who is also CEO and president of DPI Labs, an aerospace company, was presented the Tony Collier award by Elizabeth Cervantes, the agency relations director of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Brown was selected for the award because of all of her untiring work in growing Sowing Seeds for Life over the past four years, Cervantes said, adding that Brown has also been very helpful in assisting the 38-year-old L.A. Regional Food Bank.

 The L.A. Food Bank was founded in 1973 by Collier, who at the time was a cook for a charitable organization. Sometimes the food donations exceeded what was needed, so Collier set up a food bank known as the Grandview Foundation in his two-car garage in Pasadena.

 The food bank soon moved into a 2,600 square-foot dry cleaning facility on Fair Oaks and then to a 10,000 square-foot warehouse in El Monte in 1983. It changed its name to Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in 1986, and in 1989 moved to its current location in a 96,000 square-foot building at 1734 East 41st Street, south of downtown Los Angeles.

Sowing Seeds for Life also had a modest beginning in December 2007, feeding some 100 people per month. It now feeds more than 6,000 people per month and also operates a community farm in the San Dimas Canyon.

Brown said SSFL is in need of a bigger facility and is seeking funds to build one on the DPI Labs property. A key fundraiser for SSFL is its annual golf tournament. Next year’s is set for Oct. 8 at Glendora Country Club. Among the many sports celebrities who have participated in the golf tournament over the past two years, when it was held at Sierra La Verne, were Laker legends Jerry West, James Worthy, Bill Sharman, and Elgin Baylor, horse racing announcer Trevor Denman, former UCLA basketball coach Jim Harrick and former Dodgers Bill Russell, Tommy Davis and Al Downing.

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