September Agency Spotlight: Calvary Church

More than forty years ago, Anne and Al Issacs opened the food pantry at Calvary Church in Santa Cruz, distributing bags of groceries and fresh produce to needy and/or homeless Santa Cruz families and individuals. Although they have since retired, a new generation of community volunteers keeps the pantry up and running.

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The folks at Calvary treat their hungry clients with a friendly and welcoming hand, providing coffee to people waiting on line. Recently, the food distributions, which take place twice a month, have served from 60-90 families per month, with 80-150 family members. Many people arrive early to enjoy the coffee and companionship. The food distributions provide a sense of community for people going through tough times. “People come and go,” says Dave, a longtime volunteer at the pantry. “We have one client that works in construction. When he has work we don’t see him, when there is no work he comes to get food.”

As people arrive at the pantry, they are given a number and their name, zip code and number of family members is recorded in a book. When the pantry opens, people line up according to number. They can choose whatever produce they want; on the day we visited there were carrots, peppers, cut up watermelon, apples and more. Once they’ve chosen their produce, they can take one of the pre-packed bags of non-perishable food. Since many of the people the pantry serves are homeless or do not have access to kitchen facilities, having ready-to-eat food items is important.

Alex has volunteered at the Calvary pantry for seven years. He still picks up food but is doing much better now than when he first showed up. “I started coming here when I was homeless,” he says. “They saved my life. I owe my life to these people for giving me food.” Alex gives any extra food he has to the Sober Living Environment, which he also credits with helping him turn his life around.

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The food distributed at Calvary comes primarily from Second Harvest; in fact, Calvary was one of Second Harvest’s first member agencies, signing on in 1984. Volunteers visit the warehouse to choose fresh produce. Second Harvest delivers the non-perishable items, which can be ordered online. Volunteers sort and bag up the staple foods, which include items such as canned vegetables, cereal and peanut butter. Calvary distributes approximately 50,000 pounds of food annually.

Dave & Al picking out fresh produce at Second Harvest

The food pantry at Calvary is a model of efficiency, as are other outreach programs at the church. Clothes Closet operates in conjunction with the food pantry and there is a Coffee House for youth that includes a dinner every Monday evening.

Thanks to everyone at Calvary for their hard work and dedication. They are really making a difference in our community.

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September Recipe of the Month

Vegetable Quesadillas

vegetable quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • Non stick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Preparation:

1.) Spray medium skillet with non stick cooking spray. Sauté bell pepper and corn until soft, about 5 minutes.

2.) Add green onion and tomato: cook for several minutes until heated. Add cilantro.

3.) Heat tortillas in skillet and place cheese and vegetables on each tortilla and fold until cooked.

4.) Serve

 

Makes 4 servings

Quesadillas de Verduras

vegetable quesadillas

Ingredientes:

  • Aceite de aerosol
  • 1/2 taza pimiento verde cortado
  • 1/2 taza de maíz descongelado
  • 1/2 taza de cebolla verde rebanada
  • 1/2 taza de tomates cortadas
  • 2 cucharadas de cilantro cortados
  • 4 (6 pulgadas) tortillas de harina
  • 1/2 taza queso de grasa reducido de Cheddar o Monterey

Preparación:

1.) Pon en un sartén mediano aceite de aerosol. Saltea el

pimiento verde y maíz hasta que estén ablandados, por cinco

minutos

2.) Añade la cebolla verde y tomate; Cocine por varios minutos hasta que este calentado; Añade el cilantro.

3.) Caliente las tortillas en un sartén y agregue queso y verduras en cada tortilla y dobla hasta que este cocida.

4.) Sirve

Rinde 4 porciones.

 

Vegetable Quesadillas

 

 

Obesity

 

Today’s lesson will be on a subject everyone’s heard about, but don’t necessarily have knowledge about- its obesity. Unfortunately this health issue is not rare in the United States, a whopping 1/3 of the population suffer from it and with all the fast-food places opening it doesn’t seem like too much of surprise. Being able to understand the problem is one step in helping to resolve it. So sit back, snack on something healthy, and read on. .

There are two terms we’ll get out of the way: “obesity” and “overweight”. Before you say anything, they are not the same. The way to tell is using the Body Mass Index chart, or BMI chart. The BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, then multiplying that by 703. Once you’ve got your number, here’s an idea on where your body is at:

  • Underweight: BMI Less than 18.5
  • Healthy weight: BMI 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight: BMI 25.0-29.9
  • Obese: BMI 30.0 or greater

What can obesity cause? Obesity can cause major health concerns including: coronary heart disease, cancer, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. Each one of those is a heavy duty problem. But wait! Don’t panic! Here’s how you can help your body.

  1. Reduce your calorie intake (don’t eat too much)
  2. Exercise a little bit every day. Go for a walk with your dog, or with a friend. Try getting into a habit of doing this for 30min each day to burn off any excess calories hanging around.
  3. Perhaps the most important- EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. If you don’t like fruit, each vegetables. If you don’t like vegetables then vice versa. Now, if you don’t like both (it’s going to be a tough life), learn to love them.

Making decisions to eat healthy can be an issue for some people, but don’t let it become a permanent obstacle. Don’t let anything get between you and a healthy life. Let’s say you’re around an area that has high produce prices and plenty of fast food to fit your budget. Look to the smart choice. From what we’ve learned eating unhealthy can cause problems. Look to your local supermarkets, go for their weekly ad and amaze yourselves with the discounted produce/vegetables. Then create a menu around the discounted prices of produce/vegetables. There should be no reason to not eat healthy. Your brain will thank you for it, your body will thank you for it, and your life will thank you for it.