first_imgNot in his wildest imagination did he think that opening his garage door to his neighbors 38 years ago would lead to something this big, Ed Rose says Wednesday, shaking his head. “Every time I drive by that 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Pacoima it blows my mind,” says Rose, the 68-year-old founder of MEND Meet Each Need With Dignity, the San Fernando Valley’s largest poverty-assistance agency. The charity Ed and Carolyn Rose started in the garage of their Mission Hills home in 1968 distributing donated clothing and furniture every Saturday to people in the neighborhood who had fallen on hard times has grown to a multimillion-dollar operation. Today, MEND feeds, shelters, clothes, and provides services to more than 38,000 people a month living below the poverty line. It has more than 2,100 volunteers and annual revenues that top $6 million from cash donations and in-kind contributions, says Marianne Haver-Hill, executive director of MEND. And next month, it will open The Treasure Trunk, an upscale thrift shop in Granada Hills, to sell new and slightly used items to raise funds to serve even more impoverished families living in the Valley. The next time someone says one person can’t make a difference, tell ’em about Ed Rose and his wife, Carolyn. From their one-car garage, they looked around their Northeast Valley neighborhood in the late 1960s and saw many neighbors who had less a lot less than they did. Carolyn, now a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Foundation Hospital in Panorama City, was a stay-at-home mom back then, raising five children in a Mission Hills home without enough bedrooms or bathrooms, but with plenty of love. Ed worked in the finance department at Lockheed, and at the core of their lives were their children and their church Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in North Hills. Every Saturday morning, their garage door would go up, and anyone in the neighborhood was welcome to take whatever they needed. No questions asked. “Between the people at my work and churches helping us out, our garage was soon crammed with donated items,” Ed said. Pretty soon the Roses had branched out to other neighborhoods, local schools, and churches, looking for people who could use the donated items they had stored in their garage on Mayall Street. By 1971, one garage wasn’t enough. The couple expanded to other garages and rooms in three church parishes and centers. With some friends, they formed a board of directors, and MEND was born. All religions were welcome to join, and soon they did. It went from a garage to a now 40,000-square-foot warehouse in downtown Pacoima. The Roses still stay active, and volunteer at MEND and other local charities. “We still run into people who remember coming to our garage,” said Ed. “Most of them say they’re doing fine now, and they thank us for helping them through a tough period in their lives. It makes you feel awfully good.” After Carolyn retires from her nursing job next year, the Roses are looking forward to doing some volunteering at MEND’s new Treasure Trunk when it opens next month. They can use all the volunteers they can get, says Michele McDowell, who will manage the store. Two, three, four hours a day one or two days a week. Whatever you can afford to them, she says. “We’ll be selling new and gently used adult and children’s clothing, small household appliances, books and some sporting equipment,” McDowell said. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3749 The Treasure Trunk will open May 17 at 16860 Devonshire St., Granada Hills. To volunteer, call Michele McDowell at (818) 896-0246. For information on donating items, call (818) 700-7044. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img