The new Great Northern Services Community Room, a state-of-the-art multi-media conference center, is open and ready to serve the county-wide community.
Located in the heart of the GNS building at 310 Boles Street in Weed, the center is designed to be used by organizations and businesses in Siskiyou County for seminars, annual meetings, workshops, conferences, and more.
Mike Solano, whose business donated generously to the project, stopped by to check it out once the Community Room was up and running. His first impression produced a huge smile.
“This space is just vibrant – it gives you the sense you have the power to succeed,” he said.
The Community Room seats up to 24 people at two long conference tables. An optional visual divider is available to partition off half the room for smaller meetings.
Broadband Wi-Fi enhances both video conferencing and media presentation possibilities on the large computer monitor mounted at one end of the room. USB and HDMI data ports and power outlets at each of the conference tables complete the high-tech communication opportunities for groups who use the facility.
The center also will serve as the main gallery for the recently launched Great Northern Student Art Project. Eight pieces of art are already on display and executive director Bonnie Kubowitz said ultimately about 20 pieces of student art will be displayed at all times.
“Community use of our new conference center will ensure a high level of exposure for and interest in the students’ art,” she explained. “This will be an ongoing fundraising project for participating school art programs as well as a rotating art display for the community.”
Solano said the new Community Room reflects what he believes to be at the core of Great Northern’s work – prioritizing the needs of others.
“And the non-profits that will use this space are all doing similar work – working and building partnerships for the sake of others,” he added.
Solano donated the dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator in the small kitchen area that allows refreshment service to be managed apart from the work area. He said he is able to fulfill his commitment to support nonprofit events and projects across the county thanks to the strong community support his businesses receive from people who shop locally.
The new Community Room itself was made possible by the generosity of the McConnell Foundation, Kubowitz said.
“When we moved into this building after our offices were destroyed in the Boles Fire, we wanted to make sure future renovations somehow benefitted the entire community. McConnell allowed us to realize that dream. We are grateful to them for their generosity and shared vision, and to Mike Solano for continuing to support us from within the community,” she said.
Not-for-profit organizations, agencies, and entities may reserve and use the Community Room free of charge; for-profit entities will be charged a nominal user fee. Fill out the Online Application to reserve.
For more information about reservations or about participation in the Student Art Project, call Great Northern’s office manager Angela Nathan at 530-938-4115, ext 111.
Thanks to a California Foodlink program locally administered by Great Northern Services, a semi-truck full of fresh produce and a limited amount of bread and pastries will be delivered for free distribution at Tailgate Produce Parties in four Siskiyou County cities every month from May through October.
GNS Program Coordinator Heather Solus said the program is “an exciting opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables to our community directly from farmers and food producers. Fresh fruits and vegetables are key to healthy eating, but are not always accessible to people, particularly if the food budget is tight.”
“Donate, Don’t Dump”
The fresh produce headed to Siskiyou County is donated by farmers and growers throughout California, according to www.foodlink.org.
Working with the California Department of Social Services, Foodlink started a “Donate, Don’t Dump” program in the mid-1990s, asking growers to donate rather than discard any excess perishable food they were producing. The website states that Foodlink now receives between 10 and 12 million pounds of food each year from growers and packing houses throughout California who donate to the program.
Foodlink gets the donated food to the people who need it, partnering with local organizations and food banks in the communities served.
Contact: For more information about the Tailgate Produce Party program, please call Heather Solus at 938-4115, ext. 128.
Mt. Shasta Fresh makes free fresh fruits and vegetables available monthly to income eligible Mount Shasta City residents during the summer months. Made possible by the city’s Community Development Block Grant funding, the program is administered and managed by Great Northern Services.
“The word has spread by word of mouth,” GNS program coordinator Heather Solus said. “Since enrollment is first come, first served, we are strongly advising people to enroll promptly this year.”
She emphasized that income limits for participation are higher than people might expect, and working families are often eligible. A family of four with an annual income of up to $47,100, for instance, qualifies for enrollment.
Mt. Shasta Fresh provides the free produce to participating households through the Farmer’s Market from June through September. Distribution locations will be announced to enrollees before the program begins.
This year people participants will be able to pick out their own produce rather than receiving it pre-bagged, Heather said. “We’re doing it ‘market style’ so people have more choice and there’s less waste.”
Mount Shasta City Finance Director Muriel Terrell said the city is “very pleased” to be able to provide the program again this year.
“It’s truly satisfying to be able to get nice, fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to those who may not have access to them otherwise,” she commented.
Most food for the program is purchased from regular Farmer’s Market vendors Homeward Bounty, Hunter’s Orchard, Marble Mountain, Windborne Farm, Grow Radicle, and Pierce Family Farm. Solus said the vendors offer a generous pricing schedule in support of the program.
Applicants for Mt. Shasta Fresh must be residents living within the incorporated city limits of City of Mount Shasta and must meet the income requirement guidelines. Download your application now!
Applications are also available at the Mount Shasta Community Resource Center and Mt. Shasta City Hall. All applications must be completed and submitted to the MSCRC, Mt. Shasta City Hall, or Great Northern Services by May 19, 2017.
For more information, call Heather at 938-4115, ext. 128.
Great Northern Services executive director Bonnie Kubowitz said, “The idea behind this project is to showcase our students’ art and help our school art programs. And for helping with that, our organization will gain an ever-changing gallery of interesting and beautiful artwork.”
Great Norther Services’ Executive Director Bonnie Kubowitz accepts a $4,000.00 grant check from Francisco J. Castillo, Union Pacific Railroad Director of Public Affairs-Corporate Relations.
The Union Pacific Foundation donated $4,000.00 to Great Northern Services this spring to help supplement and expand their Summer Food Program, which provides free lunches during the summer months to all children 18 years old and younger who wish to participate.
“We are honored and grateful to receive the Foundation’s support,” Great Northern executive director Bonnie Kubowitz said. “This funding has helped us expand our Summer Food Program from one location to four locations in south Siskiyou County, which means more children will be fed and more parents will enjoy peace of mind knowing that their children are getting the nutrition they need while school is closed.”
In the letter confirming the grant, Union Pacific president Scott Moore reflected on what he described as Union Pacific’s “long-standing commitment to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve and where our employees live and work.”
He stated that Union Pacific is “proud to support Great Northern Services” and extended the company’s best wishes for the organization’s continued success.
Children will be served free lunches again this summer, thanks to Great Northern Services’ Summer Food Program.
Now in its second year, the program will offer lunch at three locations in Weed and one in Mount Shasta every weekday from Monday, June 20 through Friday, August 12.
“All children 18 years old and under are welcome,” GNS Summer Food Program coordinator Heather Solus said.
Parents or guardians may accompany small children, she explained, but due to budget limitations adults will not be served a meal.
Scheduled locations and lunch times in Weed are as follows:
- Weed Elementary School, from 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.;
- Mountain View Apartments, from 12 – 12:30 p.m.; and,
- Bel Air Park, from 12 – 12:30 p.m.
In Mount Shasta, lunches will be served from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. at Mount Shasta Elementary School.
A combination of Great Northern staff and volunteers will oversee lunch service at the Weed sites, according to Solus, while the Mount Shasta Rotary Club will run the site in Mount Shasta.
She said the meals will be prepared by a food-safe certified GNS staff member in a food-safe certified kitchen and delivered to the lunch sites daily.
After-lunch activities will be offered several days a week at Bel Air Park and Mount Shasta Elementary. The schedule of activities for the week will be announced every Monday at those locations.
The program is funded in part by the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, which is “an equal opportunity provider and employer,” according to the USDA website. The balance of the funding is donated by individuals, businesses, and corporations – generosity Solus described as “very important to the success of the program.”
Last year the Summer Food Program ran only at the Bel Air Park location. Solus said this year’s expanded program is fully funded and reflects the priority to “get the food to where the kids are.”
“We’re looking forward to expanding to more sites in more towns next year,” she added.
For more information about Great Northern’s Summer Food Program, call Solus at 938-4115, extension 128.
Great Northern is recognized as a valuable partner in community planning, reporting, and development projects that require technical and organizational expertise; the ability to engage citizens, civic leaders, and other stakeholders; and the skills to implement and manage a large project, over an extended period of time, to successful completion.
Last year we were chosen to be the non-profit organization that would work closely with the City of Weed and lead the development of a community-based Resilience Plan. Great Northern involved community leaders and stakeholders, residents, and city and county officials in a series of facilitated meetings, online surveys, and leadership team collaborations, then utilized our staff expertise to produce the City of Weed Community Based Resilience Plan in April 2016.
We are excited to offer this service in our community. Please take a look (below) to get an idea of the scope of the project and to find out what community resilience involves.
Then let us know how we may be able to help your city or organization!