More than 30,000 lunches have been served to kids in Siskiyou County over the past seven years through the U.S.D.A. Summer Food Program, which is administered by Great Northern Services. The program is supported through the generosity of the Pacific Power Foundation, which is once again playing a big part in that service to our community’s youngest members in the coming summer months.
The foundation recently awarded Great Northern Services a $4,000 grant to help maintain the Summer Food program and provide additional healthy food to the menu.
“Hunger is an issue in our community year-round and has been made worse in the past couple of years by the pandemic,” said Marie-Josée Wells, Great Northern Services executive director. “Summer break can be an extra stressful time for children who rely on free school food programs. When those meals are not available, families have to incur extra costs and children are less likely to receive the proper nutrition they need.”
“This donation means ‘food on the table’ for many of our youngest residents,” said Great Northern Services food programs manager Jeremy Porteous. “We greatly appreciate the foundation’s continuing commitment to help support our community.”
Great Northern Services began running the U.S.D.A. Summer Food program locally in 2015, feeding lunches at Bel Air Park in Weed to local children and teens on summer break. Donations from individuals and organizations like the Pacific Power Foundation have helped grow the program so more Siskiyou County children have access to healthy food during the summer.
Now in its eighth year, the program has expanded to five locations in the south county. Volunteers serving the lunches and organizing activities come from several area communities and service groups. Wells expressed deep gratitude for the longevity of the foundation’s support for Great Northern Services’ undertakings.
“Our partnership with the Foundation has really grown,” Wells said. “I can’t think of a better partner than the Pacific Power Foundation in our focused efforts to help our community.”
According to data from Feeding America, about 22% of adults and children are food insecure – lacking access to nutritious food.
“The U.S.D.A. Summer Food program is a vital part of the fight against food insecurity, yet the funding provided by the U.S.D.A. only covers a portion of the costs necessary to prepare and deliver healthy, nutritious meals, especially in a county as spread out and remote as ours,” said Great Northern Services fund development coordinator Paula Reynolds. “Pacific Power Foundation’s community grant helps make sure we can include fresh fruit and vegetables and helps us serve lunches in more locations.”
For information on donating or volunteering in the Summer Food program, contact Jeremy Porteous at (530) 938-4115, extension 116.