October Agency Spotlight: St. Francis Soup Kitchen


In the city of Santa Cruz, there is an estimated number of 400 people who sleep outside. One of the major problems they face is hunger and malnutrition. For over the past 25 years, St. Francis Soup Kitchen has been serving meals to the needy in Santa Cruz in order to help combat this issue. Program Director, Richard Crowe, became involved with St. Francis 10 years ago, when he experienced a calling to work with and to serve the poorest of the poor.

Upon stepping into St. Francis Soup Kitchen, one immediately senses a strong familial connection. “While our mission is to serve the poorest of the poor”, says Crowe,  “anyone is welcome here; all that is required is an appetite.”

During our visit to St. Francis, we were invited to sit down and have lunch with the volunteers. Every day the volunteers take the time to sit and eat with each other before they serve their clients. This is a tradition St. Francis follows to create a strong connection within the group, as well as to thank their volunteers.  In this moment, we had a chance to speak with Paige and learn about her amazing abilities to create nutritious and filling meals with the little resources available. Each meal consists of soup, salad, bread, fruit, and milk. “We are able to provide healthy and filling meals due to the partnership that we have with SHFB. 90% of the produce and 60% of all food that we serve comes from the food bank.”

Crowe recognizes the work of the dozens of volunteers who come in each morning to help serve over 180 people each day . “We have 100 volunteers that come in every day and they are all long-term volunteers. It is a major role that they play to fulfill the mission of St. Francis.”

The Kitchen follows the 1,000 year old tradition of the Benedictine Order– when someone knocks at your door, you should treat them as if Christ were standing there. Other services that St. Francis provides include showers, which are available daily from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and clothing distribution on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

October Nutrition Tips: Living a Low-Fat Lifestyle


Fats and oils are essential for a complete healthy lifestyle because they are significant sources of energy for the body. They come in either a liquid form or a solid form. Since some fats are good, while others are not, it is important to consume them in moderation to maintain good health.

Healthy fats

  • Monounsaturated fats: mainly come from plants like olive oils, canola oil, and peanut oil.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: typical vegetable oils like corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: found in plant sources such as soy bean, canola, walnuts, and flaxseed; are also found in fish such as salmon and mackerel.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids: sources include nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

Unhealthy fats

  • Trans fats: found in junk food such as chips and  baked goods
  • Saturated fats: usually found in animal products such as meat, seafood, dairy products, and egg yolks.

 Follow these tips to maintain a low fat lifestyle!

Las grasas y aceites son fundamentales para un estilo de vida complete y saludable. Vienen en dos formas, en formas liquidas o solidas. Son una fuente significativa de energía para el cuerpo. Hay diferentes tipos de grasas; algunas son buenas y otras no son buenas, entonces deberían de ser consumidas con moderación.

Grasas saludables

  • Monoinsaturadas: principalmente vienen de las plantas como aceites de olivo, aceites de canola, y aceites de maní.
  • Grasas poliinsaturados: típicamente aceites de vegetales como maíz, soya, cartamo, y aceite de girasol.
  • Omega-3: son encontrados en Fuentes de plantas tales como, en el frijol de soya, aceites de canola y nueces. Algunos son encontrados en el salmon, arenque.
  • Omega-6: sus Fuentes vienen de las nueces, semillas, y aceites de vegetales.

Grasas no saludables

  • Saturadas: usualmente encontradas en grasas de animal tales como, carnes, mariscos, piel de aves, y la yema del huevo.
  • Grasas trans: encontradas en comidas rápidas como, papas fritas, productos horneados.

Viviendo un estilo de vida bajo en grasa


SHFB Annual Report 2013-2014

The Annual Report 2013-2014 was recently published, which reflects a great year for Second Harvest Food Bank, the agencies we partner with, and the people that our partner agencies serve. The work we do at the food bank would hold little value without the amazing dedication and service that our partner agencies commit to the residents of this community.  Second Harvest strives to continue to find innovative ways to end hunger and malnutrition through alliances with different health and human service organizations.  Thank you for the time and effort you all put in helping us combat hunger!                                    yearinreviewClick the link to view the full Annual Report 2013/2014 


September Agency Spotlight: Bay Avenue Senior Apartments Pantry

Bay Ave
Volunteers Gail, Randy and Bonnie lend a hand.


When you think of the City of Capitola do you automatically think of poverty? Most people think of a beach town, surfing, the mall, or the other side of Santa Cruz without homeless people.  The reality is that 11.6% of the population lives below the federal poverty line (2012 Census), that is 1,171 residents who are food insecure.  These residents lacked access to a local food distribution, until Kimberly Ferguson, Resident Services Coordinator of Bay Avenue Senior Apartments became the first SHFB pantry in the City of Capitola.

The pantry has been open for 1 1/2 years and helps an average of 100 unduplicated individuals. On busy months they have served up to 150+ people. Ferguson’s office is magically transformed by volunteers into a pantry twice a month. All of the food going out their door comes from SHFB. About 65% of residents attend the pantry distribution and they report they are happy to not have to take the bus or spend money on gas to drive to other pantries. Although residents have to be over 55 to live in the apartments, the pantry is open to the public and accepts SHFB Hotline referrals.

Ferguson felt empowered to provide food to residents because she witnessed many seniors had little to no income to purchase food because of their fixed income and high living and medical expenses.  She shared her client’s story, “We have a lot of seniors that are categorically ineligible for CalFresh due to SSI.  I have one resident who gets $7 through SSI and so is categorically ineligible for $200 of CalFresh. There’s really no way around that.” Word spread quickly among the community of the valuable free resource; full-time employed adults -several who work on the wharf- pick-up food to feed their children and supplement low-wages.

The vision Ferguson has for the pantry goes beyond giving food. She informed us, “We have tons of produce and we do a lot of recipes because people ask ‘Well how do I use this’ or ‘What is this?.'” She also offers clients great advice to save money and have food for scarce months, ” We’re teaching people how to freeze strawberries, how to freeze the abundance of produce that we have to get them through the winter.” To raise the bar, Ferguson is an avid advocate for her clients, helps them connect to safety net programs like CalFresh or SSI, and addresses elected official about food insecurity issues in Capitola.

Ferguson and her team of volunteers inadvertently- or consciously- operate a comprehensive food program that has transformed residents and neighbors into a supportive community. Bay Avenue Senior Apartment’s pantry has become a very valuable resource for the SHFB agency network, and has proved that there are creative efforts to ensure food insecure people do not fall through the gaps in our county.


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