Jefferson Award Winner Founded Delivery Program To Redistribute Food To Where It's NeededBy Sharon Chin

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) Dr. Carol Weyland Conner founded the White Pony Express two years ago, making service and speed priorities.

The White Pony Express rides to the rescue with free groceries for low income families. When one of its charity partners calls for food, volunteers try to deliver from this Walnut Creek warehouse within two hours.

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Ana Villalobos says the people she serves at Monument Impact community resource center in Concord couldn’t be more grateful.

“They feel happy,” she said. “They feel that somebody cares for them.”

White Pony Express helps feed 65,000 people in Contra Costa County on a regular basis.

Dr. Carol Weyland Conner founded the fast-growing volunteer group in 2013. As the spiritual director of the faith community Sufism Reoriented, she is committed to ending poverty.

“So, take the abundance all around us that is distributed unequally and simply redistribute it,” she explained.

In the last two years, the program has delivered two million pounds of food. That’s equivalent to 1,600,000 meals.

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More than 400 volunteers keep White Pony Express running seven days a week. They pick up food and even flowers from about 100 donors, like grocery chains, and distribute the items to some 50 charitable organizations, which then give the donations to clients like Blanca Colin.

“Economy is not good in this area, so it helps a lot,” Colin said.

Besides food, White Pony Express delivers gently used clothes, toys, and books to underserved neighborhoods.

Dr. Conner desires to serve the whole person, according to Erica Brooks, the nonprofit’s Vice President of Growth Development.

“I think that her sole focus for all these programs is about delivering love,” Brooks said.

Dr. Conner also founded Francis in the Schools. The program, named after Francis of Assisi, produces Renaissance-style faires that bring music, dance, and drama to inner city neighborhoods around the nation.

“The guiding principle is that it is the nature of love to give the best you can,” Dr. Conner said.

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So for giving her best to serve low income families through White Pony Express and Francis in the Schools, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Dr. Carol Weyland Conner.