December Agency Spotlight: Homeless Services Center

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180/2020. This is the name given to a multi-agency community initiative in Santa Cruz County. It’s goal is to make a 180 degree change to end chronic homelessness by the year 2020. It hopes to accomplish this task by moving men, women, and families into permanent housing and providing the support services they need to stay housed.

One of the agencies involved in this initiative is the Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz. “We envision Santa Cruz County to be a place where everyone has permanent housing.” In order to achieve this goal, Homeless Services Center practices proven solutions that provide pathways to individuals, such as their Daytime Essential Services Center. Services provided include meals, showers, mail service, computer access, clothing, and  work-readiness workshops. This center was designed to allow persons to continue performing the necessary steps to regain housing without being encumbered by unnecessary hardships such as hunger, lack of access to communication methods, or lack of access to basic hygiene services and clean clothing.

Teresa Scott heads the kitchen that prepares the meals for the center. She comes into the Food Bank every week to pick up the items she needs to prepare her meals. The center serves breakfast and dinner daily, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the items that Teresa picks up from the food bank and other community donations, they are able to serve 300-400 meals a day. “It is important for us to be able to provide the basic necessities that our clients need. We do not want them to have to worry about these things, so that they can focus on other things to help them get back into a better situation.”

The Homeless Service Center continues to bring about positive change and opportunities for the people in Santa Cruz County.  Throughout the years, the organization has  responded to community needs for case management, transitional housing, and emergency housing. It continues to expand and hopes to provide more services such as  a new computer center, a community meeting room, and a 1-chair dental operative room.

Food Safety Training

Food Safety Training Flyer1 Dec2014

This month we will be offering our agencies the chance to fulfill their food safety training requirement. All agencies are required to complete a training each year in order to meet Feeding America and SHFB guidelines. We will be offering two opportunities, the first on December 15th, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and the second on December 22nd from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please RSVP, space is limited to 18 seats per training.

If you serve hot meals, you are required to hold a ServSafe certificate. This training will not meet that requirement.

If you are unsure about whether or not your agency has met the food safety requirement, please do not hesitate to ask.

December Nutrition Notes: Make Celebrations Healthy and Fun

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Healthy eating and being physically active should be a part of fun gatherings and celebrations. Making healthy habits part of your gathering can create a motivating environment, as well as promote healthy foods and an enjoyable time with family and friends.

Make food options easy by offering a variety of healthy, colorful and tasty foods.

Serve foods with different colors such as yellow corn and black beans with a low fat salad dressing. Add peas and beats to salads for color and variety. Serve mixed fruits such as nectarine wedges, grapes, pears, apples, and berries. Use fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Make food tasty by making small changes in your old recipes.

Try new recipes with a lower calorie version. Taste new recipes with vegetables and fruits that are in season.

Be physically active

Keep moving, play active games, dance.

Haz que las celebraciones sean saludables y divertidas

Comer saludable y ser físicamente active deberían de ser parte de convivios y celebraciones divertidas. El hacer hábitos saludables parte de los convivios puede crear un ambiante motivador, al igual que promover comidas saludables y el disfrutas a la familia y amigos.

Haga que las opciones de comida sean fáciles al ofrecer una variedad de comidas saludables, coloridas y con sabor.

Sirva comidas con diferentes colores tales como elote y frijoles con un aderezo bajo en grasa. Use chicaros, garbanzos y betabel en ensaladas por color. Sirva frutas combinadas y use frutas y vegetales que son de temporada.

Haga que la comida tenga un buen sabor al hacer péqueños cambios a sus recetas tradicionales.

Trate nuevas recetas con una version mas baja de calorías.

Sea físicamente active

Al moverse, jugar juegos actvios, y al bailar.

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.

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