Harvest Community Center founders Orie and Gladys Johnson are joined by employees, Chamber Ambassadors and guests as they cut the ceremonial ribbon. The Johnsons began Harvest Community Center over 44 years ago when they saw a need for food in the local community.
Harvest Community Center founders Orie and Gladys Johnson are joined by employees, Chamber Ambassadors and guests as they cut the ceremonial ribbon. The Johnsons began Harvest Community Center over 44 years ago when they saw a need for food in the local community.

We recently welcomed Harvest Community Center to the Chamber with a ribbon cutting! Located at 619 N. Railroad Ave in Santa Maria, the non-profit was started over 44 years ago by Orie and Gladys Johnson, who noticed a need for food in their community and decided to do something about it.

“Here at Harvest Community Center, we are serving the needs of the community,” said Mayra Ramos, Assistant Director for Harvest Community Center. “Right now, it’s through feeding families in need. We’re currently feeding between 175 and 350 individuals a month. and that’s been going on for the last 44 years.”

Ramos knew she wanted to work for an organization that helps the community in a positive way, and saw Harvest Community Center as a perfect fit.

“I’ve always wanted to give back, and one of the things I’ve specifically wanted to be involved with is helping those in need,” explained Ramos. “Growing up, my family was able to receive a lot of support from the community. We grew up very poor, and I’m just glad I’m in a place now where I can help others.”

Ramos said there are a number of ways people can help if they are interested in supporting the efforts of Harvest Community Center.

“Obviously donations go a long ways,” Ramos said. “People like to donate canned goods but we actually prefer to purchase the goods ourselves, because we have direct connections with the manufacturers and are able to get them for much cheaper than they sell them at the stores.”

Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau Membership Manager Cara Martinez presents the ceremonial ribbon to Harvest Community Center founder Gladys Johnson, joined by staff.
Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau Membership Manager Cara Martinez presents the ceremonial ribbon to Harvest Community Center founder Gladys Johnson, joined by staff.

Additionally, Ramos says the center is always in need of more volunteers. “We always can use the help distributing all the goods to the families in need,” Ramos said. “Also, there’s only three of us in the office so if anyone has any skill sets that can help in social media, marketing – really anything – we can find a fit for you here.”

Ramos said since starting her work at Harvest Community Center, she’s been moved by the overwhelmingly positive response from the local community. “Whenever we tell people about what we’re doing, they want to figure out how they can help, and that makes me really excited, she said. “We all can do one thing to make our community better. Whether it’s smile at a random person on the street or contribute a few dollars to a good cause. It’s just exciting that people in Santa Maria care so much and are investing in their community.”

We are thrilled to have Harvest Community Center as valued Chamber members! You can learn more about the organization by calling (805) 346-2670 or visiting their website at http://harvestcommunitycenter.weebly.com. Watch the video interview below to hear more from Mayra Ramos, Assistant Director of Harvest Community Center.