Monrovia’s Foothill Unity Center Kicks Off Weekly Coffee Tours of New Building

Betty McWilliams said the new building enhances the work of the staff, volunteers, and award-winning programs. – Courtesy photo / Foothill Unity Center
Betty McWilliams said the new building enhances the work of the staff, volunteers, and award-winning programs. – Courtesy photo / Foothill Unity Center

Foothill Unity Center will begin inviting the community to stop by for coffee and a tour of its new building at 790 W. Chestnut Ave. weekly on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“We’re so grateful and proud to have raised over half of the total building cost before we even opened our doors,” said Betty McWilliams, the organization’s executive director. “Now we’re entering the home stretch – looking to the community that always supports us so strongly to help us pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible. The sooner it’s done, the sooner we can once again devote all our resources to helping people and families in need.”

The Center, the primary provider of food, case management and crisis help, and access to health care resources across eleven San Gabriel Valley cities, has worked out of leased facilities throughout its 38-year history. At its previous headquarters, operations were divided between two small buildings a block apart. The current purchase is being funded through public donations to a capital campaign, From Dream to Reality. To date, $3.6 million of the $6.2 million total has been secured. Vigorous fundraising efforts, including pursuit of multiple grants, are ongoing.

The Center’s team is looking forward to showing guests around the larger facility and describing how vastly it enhances the work of the staff, volunteers, and award-winning programs. “We can now talk privately with clients, rather than in shared offices or public spaces,” says McWilliams. “Our food trucks can deliver directly into the building, including our cold storage facilities. There is an elevator for accessibility, and an array of spaces where volunteers, board members and other groups can meet and collaborate. Two kitchens will improve our presentation of food education programs and cooking demonstrations for clients. And in contrast to the limited short-term street parking at our previous location, our new home features a spacious parking lot.”

Founded in a borrowed church closet in 1980, Foothill Unity Center is now the federally designated Community Action Agency for the Foothill Area and the primary provider of food, temporary shelter, transportation, referrals, and a variety of health services to low-income children, individuals and families in Monrovia, Arcadia, Duarte, Pasadena, Altadena, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Bradbury, Azusa, Baldwin Park, and Irwindale. The Center has steadily expanded its programs and grown its client base, which more than tripled over the last five years. 79 percent of clients are at or below the national poverty level.

“Our overall goal is to help families gain stability as they strive toward self-sufficiency, while treating every client with love and dignity,” says McWilliams. “Meeting that objective took on exciting new dimensions from the moment we moved into this wonderful place.”

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