The Senior Citizens Service Center and Food Bank, serving the Temecula/Murrieta community for almost 40 years, has been forced to move to a new location due to rising rents and reduced income in recent months.
The center and food bank will be combining its operations with two other food bank organizations and will continue to serve the senior and low-income community in its new location, as it has done faithfully for many years from its previous location on Eastman Drive in Temecula.
As of mid-June or sooner, the center and food bank will be operating out its new location, 41760 Rider Way in Temecula, according to the group’s president, Al Kaplan.
While the move is a change from its longtime location, he said it will be rent free with the assistance of Rancho Community Church. The new location will also house two other charitable food banks, the Community Mission of Hope and the Temecula Food Pantry.
“We feel pretty good about it,” Kaplan said. “Without combining, we would go out of business. With this, we will sustain the legacy of Shirley Petrus.” Petrus was a founder of the nonprofit organization.
Kaplan explained the organization had received a rent increase months ago from the property owner, Sen. Jeff Stone, totaling $3,000 per month, but they were able to reach it for a time. While the nonprofit charitable organization received enough donations in past years to cover rents and operations, several of their regular solicitation tables in front of supermarket locations were told by management that they were no longer permitted to be there. As a result, Kaplan said donations dropped, and the SCSC board is longer able to maintain the rent at the Eastman Drive location. It was forcing them to either seek a new location, or at worst, close.
Kaplan said, on the suggestion of Stone, they contacted the Community Mission of Hope and found they might be interested in sharing a single location.
“It went from there,” Kaplan said. “They contacted the Temecula Pantry, and they thought it was a good idea.”
The church offered up the new location, rent free, and the charitable food and services for seniors and low-income people will continue, he said.
He further explained their table, located in front of the Murrieta Albertson’s Store, is no longer permitted by order of the store’s corporate manager. The donations provided at the storefront averaged about $2,000 per month. Other donations and sales from their thrift also decreased forcing the move.
“Where we will be now will not cost us any rent,” Kaplan said. The food bank will continue its food distribution services to needy senior citizens and children based on income; however, there is no longer room for a thrift store.
The nonprofit organization’s food bank operations serve about 2,000 people per month. They have several programs including senior programs trips, food, Social Security and paralegal help, flu shots and even pet food, when they can. The center has also been helping some homeless people in the area with food and essentials.
The SCSC will be open at the new location, 11760 Rider Way, Temecula, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Donations are always welcome, and volunteers are needed to drive to food warehouses and for distribution. For more information, call (951) 600-9557.