By Shellie Prezant
Temple Ahavat Shalom
One has only to click on the “Community” link of the Western Bagel website to read about its commitment to helping the local community:
“We love to give. At Western Bagel, we care about our community. And we love to help out whenever we can.”
For that the Chatsworth shop was honored with a certificate presented by Councilman Mitch Englander.
One has only to meet Dan Rodriguez, store manager of the Chatsworth Western Bagel store, to experience the depth of that commitment at the local level. Dan's 29 years of service is evidence of his dedication to the Western Bagel family. After apprenticing as a baker at their main Van Nuys location in 1983, he was promoted to store manager of Western Bagel's Westlake shop, where he served for 25 years. The San Fernando Valley really lucked out when Dan was transferred to Western Bagel's Chatsworth retail location about two years ago, becoming the store manager there.
His longevity with Western Bagel is surpassed only by his devotion to the local community. Dan's leadership became an integral part of the alliance formed with Temple Ahavat Shalom (TAS) of Northridge in mid-November 2011. Since then, week after week, Dan and his wonderful customer-service oriented staff bag up their surplus bagels at close of business each Monday to be donated to thousands of needy residents of our local community. Through TAS' “Bunches of Bagels” program, these leftover noshes are picked up and transported on a weekly basis to SOVA, a food pantry in Van Nuys that helps alleviate hunger within the San Fernando Valley.
The results have been both heartwarming and inspiring. Thanks to Dan and his Chatsworth staff, more than “a ton of dough” has been donated to SOVA over the last eight months. As of July 24, 2012, a grand total of 2,010 pounds of these delicious and healthy bagels has fed SOVA's needy clients. That's a lot of bagels!!
Western Bagel's dream 67 years ago was “...to provide good bagels to a bagel-barren West Coast.” With its ongoing commitment and support provided to our community, Western Bagel has definitely become “The Bagel That Won The West,” and the bagel company that continues to win our hearts!