Community Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Dinners Served

Community Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals ServedCommunity Leaders Don Aprons, Hairnets to Serve Locals and Celebrate Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000 Meals Served

Story and Photography by BRANDON VILLALOVOS

9:32 pm | December 21, 2016


Dozens of community leaders and volunteers donned aprons and hairnets Wednesday evening at the Jackie Robinson Community Center to serve delicious hot meals to hungry locals and celebrate the Pasadena Hot Meal Program’s 110,000th meal served.

“If you want to put it in perspective — think of the Rose Bowl and the 93,000 seats at the Rose Bowl. We would have put a hot meal at every seat of the Rose Bowl and would have had many thousands left over. That’s a pretty cool way of looking at it,” said Robin Salzer, owner of Robin’s Woodfire BBQ and founder of the Pasadena Hot Meal Program that provides free hot meals for low-income and homeless residents every Wednesday at the Jackie Robinson Community Center.

Salzer started the Hot Meal Program in 2010 with fellow Pasadena businessman Walter Jackson after noticing that many locals are struggling to keep their homes stocked with nutritious food—and food at all for that matter.

Salzer was inspired to see this project through after visiting homes of residents when campaigning in his bid to become a District 1 City Councilmember.

Some would invite him into their homes to talk, usually the kitchen, and in offering him something to drink Robin observed that refrigerators of some of the residents were poorly stocked.

Although his run was unsuccessful, his experience ultimately led to to the Hot Meals Program.

“It’s a one hundred percent community driven program run by kids and volunteers in the community. Without their effort we couldn’t sustain ourselves. You can transform any city, any home, any neighborhood, any community with their positive efforts. They’re just ordinary people in the community who do extraordinary things for the community,” explained Salzer.

Just six years later, the Pasadena Hot Meals Program reached a milestone of 110,00 meals served.

“I think if one person goes home with a full stomach and if one person goes home not hungry, we’ve made a positive effort,” said Salzer. “It goes more beyond just serving a hot meal. It brings a community together. Nothing brings a community together like food,” said Salzer.

Wednesday night’s food serving event was special in that several community leaders from City Councilmembers, School Board Members, City employees and the Pasadena Police Chief, to name a few, put on aprons and volunteered their time to serve locals in need.

“This is always a special occasion when you can give back to the community. This happens to be District 3 and I’m very happy to really join a program that existed before I started serving on the City Council and certainly it’s a program that I want to do everything that I can to augment support and give voice to,” said District 3 Councilmember John Kennedy.

Dozens of volunteers worked in unison to ensure smooth sailing for a line of hungry people. Between 100 and 200 received hefty plates of assorted meats, vegetables and other delicious entrees that Robin’s Woodfire BBQ, Restaurant Depot and the Rose Bowl’s main concession supplier Sodexo Magic make each week possible.

“I’m part of this neighborhood so I love having the opportunity to get to know my neighbors even better and to get to serve them in some small way. When you’re connected to your neighbors you don’t have to be afraid of them—you have relationship with them. I never try to miss a Wednesday night,” said volunteer Terry Macquarrie.

Approximately twenty youth volunteers dedicated their time each and every week since its inception.

“Our doors never close. The reason it’s at a community center is because it’s open to the community. Anybody who comes through the door of the Jackie Robinson Community center on any Wednesday evening from five to seven will get a hot meal. We promise you that you will go home a full stomach, a good hot meal and some good fellowship and camaraderie with local citizens,” said Salzer.