As a small agency, we work in cooperation with other partners to achieve our mission to provide nutritious food, education, and referrals to those we serve. We also offer training opportunities for volunteers seeking to acquire work experience and new skills.
We provide bilingual nutrition education to our clients, in partnership with organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, the Diabetes Health Center, and the Watsonville Certified Farmers’ Market. We provide healthy recipes, nutrition tips, and consumer education to help our program participants make nutritious choices on a limited budget.
Many of those in need of food assistance could benefit from other available social services as well. We partner with other local non-profit organizations, such as WIC and veterans’ services, to provide relevant referrals and information and post and distribute flyers for available services and upcoming events.
We host health and social service partners on-site to make their programs more accessible to those we serve. Our outreach partners include the County’s Homeless Persons Health Project, the County’s MediCal Outreach staff, Dominican Hospital’s Mobile Clinic, Second Harvest Food Bank’s CalFresh Outreach and Application Assistance team, and Central Coast Energy Services.
Our organization serves as a site for hands-on job training, resume-building, and life skills development for youth, unemployed adults, seniors, people transitioning from welfare to work, and people with disabilities. Our training partners include the Center for Employment Training (CET), the WEX (Work Experience) program of Goodwill / Shoreline for Workforce Santa Cruz County, the Sueños program of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, Community Life Services, a confidential youth program of Encompass, and Peninsula Family Services. Volunteers learn about food safety and handling, food inventory management, culinary arts, customer service, workplace behavior and communication, and a variety of “soft” skills, while gaining experience working with a diverse population. Long-term volunteers have the opportunity to obtain their California Food Handler Certification.
We offer meaningful opportunities for students to learn about their community and social issues through direct service in our kitchen and pantry programs. We partner with Moreland Notre Dame, CEIBA College Preparatory Academy, and Watsonville Charter School of the Arts to provide weekly service learning placements. We also host school groups for special service projects.
Our agency provides service opportunities for community members who must perform volunteer work in fulfillment of a program requirement, including high school students, participants in the Housing Authority’s subsidized housing program, and court-referred participants in the Community Options program.