Gene Saez pulled up to St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Redondo Beach on a recent Saturday morning with his car brimming to the rim with pastries. He opened the trunk to reveal Entenmann’s, bear claws, danishes, birthday cakes and cinnamon rolls. He opened the side door and the passenger door and more pastries overflowed the seats.
Saez is one of many parishioners at St. Lawrence who contribute to the food pantry garage, a collection of food items, household goods and clothing the church collects in a garage just off the rear parking lot. Every Saturday morning, they offer the items for free. Currently 80 families receive help in this way from the church twice a week.
Along with a bag of groceries, families can choose a few household items and clothing they have on hand or whatever else happens to be plentiful. On the Saturday we visited, they had 12 cases of bananas from Amazon grocery center.
“The only qualification is they have to be human,” said Jim Egnatuk, who heads the homeless outreach ministry or the ministry of peace and justice as he likes to call it. “It’s got lots of names,” said Egnatuk, who revealed a smile under his thick white beard and broad rim hat.
Along with being human, recipients also must be residents of Redondo Beach or Torrance and have an ID to prove it, he said. But that’s pretty much it.
“If they come to us, we don’t do a background check or anything,” he said. “If they say they are in need of groceries and can hardly pay their rent and pay for food, then we help them.”
At St. Lawrence, helping those less fortunate is…
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