Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Holmes and Jeffrey Loyd.
Our names are Jeffrey Holmes (CSUN alumni) and Monica Loyd, we are both Co-Founders of The Valley Community Fridges. We have both worked and served the homeless community for over six years in our free time while Jeffrey was a teacher, now Youth Counselor at Hope Gardens Rescue Mission. Quarterly we would partner with other organizations to minister and provide much needed resources to Skid Row and numerous encampments in Los Angeles County. Jeffrey (a minister) would lead Praise and Worship and give an encouraging word every First Monday of the month for the last three years at the Union Rescue Missions men’s shelter. I (Monica Loyd) worked with the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter specifically designed for families without housing. As time would unfold, we really wanted to focus on making sure the same resources that were widely available to those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles reached the individuals here in the San Fernando Valley. With that being said, we started to engage the SFV community in a way that would encourage us a Valley residents to be leaders in community support.
We solicited Toyin’s African Fashion & Market as a potential host for the first fridge site. We also reached out to Jose the owner of Twin Appliances for a refrigerator. In just one week, the two businesses knolled over the idea and were 100% on board with the initiative, in fact Jose donated the first fridge unit and Toyin (owner) allowed us to use her site for just $75 a month to cover electricity cost. With those two major components locked in we were able to launch the first Community Fridge in the Valley on August 29th, 2020. The sweet spot about this particular location in North Hills is that it seemed to be the epicenter of families and single individuals living in hotels without kitchen and proper food storage. As well as outdoor encampments and those in-housed surviving off of minimal benefits. In the meantime, we started to reach out to local food banks and food recovery initiatives to develop partnerships that would support the fridges longevity in having available food items. The mission is to make food accessible to those experiencing homelessness.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
From the Launch up until the day we received the news that the Owner of the property didn’t want and I quote, “those people coming around his property” end. Was a complete joy and smooth ride. Since we are in the community of refrigerators popping up majority only in Los Angeles, we were able to gain a great boost of visibility on Instagram. The community learned of the location and the overall consensus was the glee their finally being a community Fridge in the valley that they can support. We also gained a major support opportunity through About My Fathers Business, a outreach – nonprofit, who took us under their wings and allowed us to be a subsidiary of their 501c. enabling us to receipt all monetary donations and receive tax deductible gifts. The community really rallied behind the fridge and it paid of every day and every week for the 300-350 that utilized it on a consistent base.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Jeffrey Holmes – CSUN alumni, newly engaged to Monica Loyd, Teacher for about eight years, now Youth Program Counselor at Hope Gardens, currently pursuing Master’s in Divinity, Non-Profit Management. Youngest of five. Devoted Minister, Gospel Artist Songwriter, Founder of Worship Workshop LA, an event for artists to bring songs and have the opportunity to create it live time all while being supported, inspired and uplifted at the same time. Love sports! Monica Loyd- From Indianapolis, IN. Newly engaged to Jeffrey Holmes, Lived in LA for ten years come April, experienced homelessness in Los Angeles five years ago, pulled myself from the bootstraps, developed a desire change the experience of homelessness, worked for houseless families for two years before birthing the Valley Fridges, youngest of 5, vocalist, fitness coach, Co-Founder of Worship Workshop LA, Christ Follower, Most proud of the fact I never gave up and I’ve accepted my purpose in life and I’m okay with it.
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
I’d say the most important less is to remain solution oriented. Be transparent and educate those who don’t understand what not to do. Let obstacles be tools that strengthen you and only take “No” as a redirection and not a definite answer. Let love lead and you will see that Love Wins. These are true lessons we learned with the organizing and day to day management surrounding the fridge.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @ValleyCommunityFridges
- Facebook: Valley Community Fridges
Picture of Dry Pantry and Fridge. Location Toyin’s African Fashion and Market, North Hills, CA Valley Community Fridges Logo. created by Jamis Jackson Picture of Empty Fridge Pictures of inside the Fridge Monica Loyd and Jeffrey Holmes pictured Hygiene Products Offered