White Pony Express offers volunteer opportunities and more to DVC students
February 15, 2017
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White Pony Express, a volunteer service located in Pleasant Hill, picks up and delivers 5,000 pounds of food a day to those in need.
Stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s provide excess food to the WPE, and the totals often reach 1,000 pounds each day.
Three-quarters of what is donated to in the morning is distributed throughout Contra Costa County, where 11 percent of its residents are below the poverty line, despite living in the third richest county in California.
Steve Spraitzar, public relations director, encourages people to volunteer and visit “to see first hand what our nonprofit is doing to eliminate poverty and hunger in Contra Costa County.”
The White Pony Express relies on volunteers to sort and deliver products to people, giving them only goods that they request in order to cut down on waste.
DVC student Zhelin Li, 20, volunteered at the White Pony Express because his friend suggested that the organization could use more volunteers.
Runners like Li keep track of what orders are coming in, and quickly prepare it and get it shipped off, covering the whole county and driving 20,000 miles a month.
One of their most recent programs, founded last January, was a cold weather clothing program where over 7,000 items like ponchos, coats, umbrellas and hand warmers to the homeless.
WPE has also collaborated with Parkhaven Church in Concord, which recently has opened its doors to the homeless, and taken orders from there.
“Many of them don’t have protective stuff,” said Gary Conner, President and Executive Coordinator at WPE. “The need is so desperate annually, so we give them brand new clothes of the highest possible quality that we can.”
Another program that they do is “mobile boutiques”, which come to those in need.
These boutiques set up at public places such as churches and schools, and are constantly restocking to keep fresh supplies to people in need.
WPE has done 43 of these boutiques in the past 3 years, giving away 275,000 brand new items of clothing and 75,000 toys and books.
White Pony Express was founded in 2013 with a team of less than a dozen people.
“We had no money, space, or assets. We only had one Google Voice number for people to call and make requests for supplies, and we were delivering them in our own cars,” Conner said.
Today, the nonprofit organization has won 6 major honors in the past 2 years.
It partners with about 60 nonprofit organizations in the county, and is praised for its high quality goods and promptness.
“We have given 4 million pounds of food that the hungry could have gone without- could you imagine?” Connor said.