Good news for people who care about people and community…
Summer Lunch Program for Kids in Need
There’s something about kids and food. They love to eat! So, because Great Northern Services and its appreciated community volunteers care about getting kids the nutrition they need during summer vacation from school, we feed them.
The second annual Great Northern Summer Food Program served up more than 2,000 lunches to hungry kids in four locations this summer – about twice as many lunches at four times the number of locations we served in 2015.
Every weekday between June 20 and August 12 this summer, food-safe certified GNS staff members prepared lunches in the Weed Elementary School cafeteria and caring, committed community volunteers fed many of our community’s children in Weed and Mount Shasta.
This program would not exist without the hard work of our volunteers and the compassion of our donors – both individuals and corporate donors like the Pacific Power Foundation, which donated thousands of dollars for this year’s program. The kids depend on us, and we depend on our community.
Sue Tavalero coordinated the Bel Air Park Summer Lunch Program site in Weed, and had after lunch activities scheduled much of the time. She worked closely with the Family and Community Resource Center of Weed, which opened its Summer Fun summer camp to the kids who attended the lunch program. The Weed Library obtained funding for and ran a six week art class for all the kids in the Summer Lunch and the Summer Fun programs.
The Mount Shasta Rotary took on the Summer Lunch Program in their city as a club project. More than 20 of its members volunteered to serve lunches to the kids, and Rotarian Greg Messer coordinated activities at that site. The kids loved it!
Wow. See what happens? When an organization like Great Northern takes a compassionate stance and backs it up with practical support and leadership, the community steps up as well.
Next year we’d like to expand our Summer Lunch Program to add two additional locations in McCloud and Montague. That depends on funding, and your generosity can make a difference. The USDA funds the program in part, but individual, business, and corporate donations allow our dedicated team to plan and manage a robust program that puts food on the table for kids like yours.
Call us. We’ll tell you how you can help.
Tailgate Parties Feed Folks
So far this summer Great Northern has helped put fresh produce on the tables of more than 400 households a month – for free! Our Tailgate Produce Parties started up in May and are still going strong, so local families will continue to have an easier time getting the fresh produce they need for healthy eating into the fall.
Thanks both to the generosity and compassion of farmers throughout California who donate excess perishable food and to funding from the USDA, one of our valued partners, California Foodlink, is able to work with local organizations to get fresh, free produce to those who need it most. When Foodlink asked us if there was a need in Siskiyou County, we stepped up with a resounding “Yes!” and stepped in to organize and lead the local effort.
We chose Yreka, Fort Jones, Weed, and Dorris as the four designated host cities for the Tailgate Produce Parties. Once a month, large trucks filled with fresh produce pull into each of these communities and fill the bags and boxes of income qualified people who hail from all over the county.
As of the end of August, more than 30,000 pounds of vegetables had made mealtimes happier and healthier in many Siskiyou County homes.
Program Coordinator Heather Solus cares deeply about helping every community member get the nutrition they need. She says the program has been successful by every measure – well-received and well-utilized. So as long as USDA funding and food grower donations continue to come in, she looks forward to more Tailgate Produce Parties again next year.
Check out our website gnservices.org for the September and October Tailgate Produce Parties schedule, then check again in late October…because if we have a late freeze this year, the trucks will be back for one last delivery in November!
Feel Good – Join in on Giving Tuesday
“Great Northern Services asked me and I said yes! There just would not be a summer lunch food program without Great Northern – I’m glad I said yes. More than 2,000 lunches were served.”
Mark Foster, Rotary Member, GNS Food Program Volunteer.
By making a gift to Great Northern during the “North State Giving Tuesday” online donation challenge event, organized by the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, you can turn your compassion and concern into practical support for the health and well-being of our most vulnerable young neighbors.
We put your contributions to good work:
- This year our Summer Food Program more than doubled the number of lunches provided in 2015 and added three new locations where kids could enjoy a nutritious lunch during their vacation months.
- More than 650 families received healthy snack bags over spring and summer school breaks this year – twice as many as last year.
- Holiday Baskets made the holidays a little happier and brighter for more than 850 families during the 2015 winter holidays.
Our programs and volunteer base are growing, thanks to people like Mark Foster, who made a real difference in the lives of Siskiyou County children this summer.
Join us and community members like Mark as we continue our efforts to make sure no child in our community goes hungry. Help us give them a brighter future.
On November 29, go to www.northstategives.org between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and designate your gift to Great Northern Services. Like Mark Foster and the many other valued individuals who partner with us on behalf of the community, you’ll be glad you did.
North State Giving Tuesday is brought to you by Shasta Regional Community Foundation, Redding Bank of Commerce, and United Way of Northern California.
Fresh Paint Job – Thank You!
In 2014, a large donation to the Shasta Regional Community Fund Disaster Relief Program from an anonymous donor, supplemented by a generous donation from the Weed Rotary Club, was designated for the purchase of a new refrigerated van for the Great Northern Services Community Food Program.
In June of this year we had the truck painted – and renewed gratitude for the original donations was felt throughout our organization. As one staff member put it, “This is the definition of ‘community’ in our ‘community food program’.”