History of Monterey Peninsula Volunteer Services

The Monterey Peninsula Volunteer Services organization originated in 1942 as part of the American Women’s Volunteer Services created to help in community efforts during World War II.

In 1949, when war efforts eased up, members sought means to finance peace Projects, so a resale store was opened at 707 Del Monte in Seaside. Proceeds were used to distribute food and clothing to war-torn countries throughout the world and to help finance the International Scholarship Fund. By 1952 their funds were directed to the Monterey Peninsula, with early donations to Visiting Nurse Association and Family Services.

When the Monterey Branch of the American Volunteers Services withdrew from the national organization in 1955, Members dispersed all funds to welfare agencies on the Monterey Peninsula and then incorporated into what is now Monterey Peninsula Volunteer Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the well-being and improvement of the Greater Monterey Peninsula extending from Marina to Big Sur.

After several moves within Seaside over the next 40 years, a legacy from the estate of Helen Bruton, local artist and member, coupled with tremendous effort by the organization's Members, made it possible for MPVS to buy land and build their own building at 655 Broadway in Seaside. The doors opened in January 1996, where business continues today.

Throughout the years, donations and sales have fluctuated depending on the economy at the time, but business has remained constant and grants given to other non-profit organizations continue. Due to the dedication of its members, past and present, MPVS has given approximately $75,000 annually through grants and gifts. Since becoming an independent organization, more than $3,000,000 (as of 2014) has been given to deserving organizations, with special emphasis on children, education, cultural improvement, people with special needs, and women’s and seniors’ concerns.