Rebuilding the lives of torture survivors

9.29.17 – Food Forward receiving agency Program for Torture Victims (PTV) goes above and beyond to assist a vastly underserved population: survivors of torture and persecution rebuilding their lives here, in California. A healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables is crucial to client recovery.

PTV offers medical and dental services to torture survivors

Food Forward is proud to work with so many incredible agency partners who receive our recovered fruits and vegetables. Just in the last year, we have donated rescued produce to 166 hunger relief agencies, some of whom distribute to an additional 350 direct service agencies. Receiving produce from Food Forward means organizations are better able to meet the needs of their clients, who may not otherwise have access to the fruits and vegetables essential to a healthy diet.

One of the agencies we’ve started supporting this year, through the Farmers Market Recovery program, is the Program for Torture Victims (PTV). A Los Angeles-based agency, PTV is the first of its kind in the nation. Through their unique nonprofit model, PTV rebuilds the lives of torture survivors from over 70 countries who have stood up for freedom, democracy, and human dignity. PTV helps to heal physical and psychological wounds, making it possible for survivors to start a second life here in California and work toward a world without torture.

ptv1A PTV client and staff member, Claudia Vargas, share their support for the organization

Refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world are resettled in here in Los Angeles. Although they’re not a group we often hear about, survivors of torture are often among these populations. State-sponsored torture is used to punish, take revenge, and create terror. It’s shockingly prevalent, with over 110 countries engaging in state-sponsored torture in the last decade. PTV also assists victims of persecution, defined as systemic mistreatment or violence against a group of people. Anyone can be a victim of state-sponsored torture or persecution– people of any age, religion, race, gender, or sexuality.

PTV offers comprehensive services to its clients, including counseling, medical care, legal support, and healing groups. Now, PTV is able to supply clients with fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables each week, gleaned by Food Forward from the West Hollywood Farmers Market. Since our partnership began in July, Food Forward has recovered and donated over 1,100 pounds of fresh produce to PTV.

ptv-la-staffRemarkable PTV Los Angeles staff members: Claudia Vargas; Trip Oldfield; Maggie Shackelford; Dr. Cynthia Willard; Carol Gomez; and Carly Boos

Trip Oldfield, PTV’s Executive Director, said, “For many torture survivors, they arrive in the U.S. with little more than the clothes on their backs. Having access or the means to buy fresh fruits and vegetables is usually something out of reach, but it’s also something that’s crucial to their health and road to recovery. PTV is extremely grateful for the wonderful produce that Food Forward has made available to our clients.”

We’re honored to be a partner to a group doing such remarkable, important work in our Los Angeles community.

As part of the Food Forward family, thank you for supporting our work with impactful agencies like the Program for Torture Victims. Because of the robust food recovery community we’ve built, Food Forward is able to support survivors of torture with fresh, healthy foods as they reenter society and reclaim their identities.
Learn more about the Program for Torture Victims:

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ptv4PTV Development Director Cam Vu shares the impact of persistence