Downey civic leader Dorothy Pemberton has been named director of the PTA HELPS pantry.
Pemberton has long been involved with several groups and organizations within the Downey community.
“I got involved in volunteering because of my kids,” said Pemberton. “My first club was Soroptimist of Downey, and that was 30 years ago. All the other organizations I belong to have been because of involvement with youth.”
That list of organizations includes an over 25-year tenure with PTA, two years as President of Downey Council PTA, serving as a board member of Downey YMCA, and work with the Assistance League of Downey.
Of course, Pemberton is no stranger to the HELPS pantry.
“When the opportunity came along that I can come over here, it’s something new; I haven’t done it before,” said Pemberton. “But I’m very familiar with the HELPS pantry.”
As she steps into the director position, Pemberton says that she – along with others currently serving with the board – have some ideas to “add a new mix to it.”
Many of her ideas surround the utilization of technology and improved outreach to bring more families in, such as a webpage or Facebook page for the pantry.
Currently, Pemberton says that the pantry is in a bit of a “quiet time” due to school currently not being in session, though this is normal.
“There’s a big drought from May to September,” says Pemberton. “The families don’t go away, but the donations do. Because the schools aren’t in session we don’t get the food. We have a lot of good donations coming in, financially we’re pretty strong…we have the funds to purchase what we need.”
However, Pemberton says that the need for volunteers to start physically filling the shelves will start during the busy holiday months of October through December.
“Those are heavy months, we need more help,” she says.