November Agency Spotlight: Salvation Army Watsonville

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In the heart of downtown Watsonville lies an extraordinary and much needed organization for the residents of this community. In a city where many are seasonal workers and experience low salary wages, The Salvation Army Watsonville is a resource to these residents.

A key contributor to the services offered is Major Robert Viquez. Since joining the Watsonville chapter, Major Viquez has worked hard to improve the facility and make it more welcoming. “I have an open door policy and want to be transparent. Anybody who walks in through my doors is always welcome. I want this place to be comfortable for them.” Viquez and his team visit SHFB 2-3 times a week in order to meet the needs of his organization. “We, as well as the families that we serve, are very grateful for the food bank. We try to make use of everything that we receive, nothing ever goes to waste.”

The Salvation Army of Watsonville has been serving the residents of this community for over 20 years. The organization provides several services and programs that align with its mission to help people meet their basic human needs. Programs include a soup kitchen that serves dinner 7 days a week, a weekly pantry, emergency food boxes, a children’s summer program, and Home League, which provides life skill classes and healthy meals to women.

The soup kitchen serves over 130 individuals each night, the pantry provides fresh produce to 70 families per week, and about 80-85 women participate in the Home League program. There is no doubt that the services offered provide tremendous support to the community and The Salvation Army of Watsonville continues to be a much valued and appreciated organization.

November Nutrition Notes: Healthy Holiday Options

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With the holidays just around the corner, many of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends. For most of us, this celebration centers around many different kinds of food. Unfortunately, this can lead to overeating of foods that can be very high in fat and sugar. By making better choices and learning to build a healthier plate, it is still possible to enjoy the holidays and stay healthy.

Steps to a healthy plate:

  1. Use a smaller plate.
  2. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
  3. Make half of your grains whole grains.
  4. Include lean protein such as poultry, seafood, eggs, low fat cuts of meat, or beans.

After you have filled your plate with healthier choices, eat slowly and savor your meal.

Los días feriados son un tiempo para celebrar con la familia y los amigos. Nosotros celebramos con mucha comida. La mayoría de la comida es alta en grasas y azúcar. Pero todavía es possible disfrutar de este tiempo y estar sano si recordamos de optar por las mejores opciones al construir platos saludables.

Pasos para platos saludables:

  1. Usar un plato más pequeño.
  2. Servir la mitad de su plato con verduras y frutas.
  3. Incluir granos enteros.
  4. Incluir proteína baja en grasa: mariscos, huevos, frijoles, chicharos y nueces.

Cuando termine de hacer su plato con opciones saludables, recuerde que debe comer despacio y saboree su comida.

Nominate Hunger Fighter of the Year!

Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond in their efforts to help feed people in our community? Please nominate him or her for the Hunger Fighter of the Year Award. Your nominee may be an educator, an advocate for the hungry, an activist seeking food policy change, or a volunteer who is using their time, energy, or resources to fight hunger in our community. The Hunger Fighter of the Year is recognized at our annual awards dinner in March.

Nominate online by following this link.

Deadline is October 31, 2014.

Thank you.

October Agency Spotlight: St. Francis Soup Kitchen

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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.

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