February Agency Spotlight: Star of the Sea

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the volunteers at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church open their pantry to the community members of Santa Cruz. On the day of my visit, I witnessed how much of a loving and generous community Star of the Sea is. As I spoke with Mary Wells, Vice President of the organization, I learned of the different ways they try to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for their clients.

After clients sign in, they are given a number and are invited into their hospitality area, where light refreshments are offered while they wait. When the client’s number is called, he or she is paired with a volunteer that helps the client fill his or her bag with the items the client requests as they walk through the pantry together. While observing this unique process, I noticed that it created a personable and warming atmosphere that empowered the clients and allowed the clients and volunteers to create relationships with one another.




On this particular day, the registration desk included information about CalFresh and an announcement for an upcoming job fair. In addition to providing nutrient dense meals and warm friendships, Star of the Sea also offers resources and information that maybe useful for their clients.

As a result of the dedication and whole hearted nature of the volunteers at Star of the Sea, what once started as a small pantry in the storage room, has expanded and is now able to serve over 80 individuals and their families.

February Nutrition Notes: Eating on a Budget


For many of us, we use most of our hard earned money to pay expenses such as rent, insurance, and utilities. After these matters are taken care of, it usually does not leave much money to spend on food. Food is a necessity for us to live. The problem that most of us face is that we cannot afford the right kind of food. We are forced to buy foods that are highly processed such as canned foods, frozen foods, sugary beverages, chips, and refined grains. However, it is possible to afford healthy foods with our limited budgets if we follow a few simple rules known as the 3 P’s: plan, purchase, and prepare.

1. Plan

  • Plan your meals and snacks for the week.
  • Make a grocery list.
  • Check for sales and coupons.
  • Ask about grocery loyalty cards.

2. Purchase

  • Shop on a full stomach.
  • Buy store brands.
  • Purchase in bulk.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.

3. Prepare

  • Prep in advance when you have more time (weekends).
  • Double or triple recipes.
  • Use leftovers to create new meals.

26-Eating Better On a Budget_10 Tips This  bilingual PDF file includes more tips and information on eating well on a budget.

Por la mayoria de nosotros, el dinero que ganamos es para el alquiler, los seguros, y los servicios publicos. Despues de pagar estos gastos, no tenemos mucho dinero para comprar comida. Comida es importante para sobrevivir. Pero, muchos de nosotros no podemos comprar los alimentos correctos. Estamos obligados a comprar alimentos baratos y comidas sumamente procesadas. Por ejemplo las bebidas con bastante azucar, papas fritas, alimentos enlatados, comidas congeladas, y los granos refinados. Es posible comer alimentos saludables con nuestros presupuestos limitados si sigen las 3 reglas. Las 3 reglas son planear, comprar, y preparar.

1. Planear

  • Planear las comidas para la semana.
  • Haga una lista de compras.
  • Compruebe si hay ventas y cupones.
  • Pregunte acerca de las tarjetas de fidelidad.

2. Comprar

  • Comprar con el estomago lleno.
  • Comprar marcas de la tienda.
  • Comprar en bulto.
  • Comprar frutas y verduras de temporada.

3. Preparar

  • Prepare en adelantado.
  • Doble o triplique las recetas.
  • Utilice sus sobras para cocinar otra comida.