Since 2013, this creative department identifies a variety of needs and works to find resources and solutions to meet them and improve our communities. The inspiration greatly comes from a Community Food Assessment GNS conducted in 2013 that looked specifically at issues related to access to healthy food.
Healthy snacks are purchased and delivered to schools for families with children during extended school breaks. This program helps reduce the financial strain experienced by low income families who typically rely on the school lunch program and who struggle to make ends meet when these meals need to be provided at home during breaks.
This program provides for holiday snack bags in the communities of Weed, Dunsmuir, Mt. Shasta, and McCloud, where nearly 90% of enrolled students are eligible for the free or reduced lunch program. To learn more about how you can volunteer or help to support the Snack Bags Program, contact Heather Solus at 530-938-4115 ext 128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about Snack Bags.
Great Northern Services partners with established holiday basket programs throughout Siskiyou County and provide 8,000 lbs of turkeys and/or hams for the baskets.
School Mini Pantries
On empty stomachs, kids don’t have the energy to focus, engage, learn and grow. In 2016 we established two mini food pantries in Mt. Shasta and Weed elementary schools; since then the program has expanded into nine different schools with more locations coming soon. These pantries allow teachers to provide snacks to students who are hungry during the school day. Teachers can also prepare small take home bags for children bridging the food gap students may experience on weekends.
USDA Food Commodities
GNS is designated by the State of California and the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to distribute USDA Commodities and emergency food in our area. GNS also provides food to soup kitchens.
Recipients sign-in to self-certify that they meet income guidelines for the program, and are residents of the area where they are picking up food.
Read more about USDA Food Commodities.
A semi-truck full of fresh produce is delivered once a month at 4 different locations in Siskiyou County from May through October. Participants who qualify by signing a self-certification form receive a full bag of produce. This program serves 8,500 people.
To learn more about how you can volunteer or help to support the Tailgate Produce Program, contact Heather Solus at 530-938-4115 ext 128 or email email@example.com.
Read more about Tailgate Produce.
Senior Snow Removal Program
In Mt. Shasta, a snowfall leaving berms along the roadside often spells injury or blocked access to food or medicine for some vulnerable seniors. This City program also puts local contractors to work for community benefit.
Free Summer Lunch Program
Great Northern Services (GNS) sponsors a USDA Summer Food Service Program. Bag lunches are distributed Monday through Friday from June to August. Meals are provided to all children ages 18 and under without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there is no discrimination in the course of the meal service. In 2016 more than 2,000 lunches were served. This program will be expanded yearly until it covers the entire county.
Read more about the Free Summer Lunch Program.
Mount Shasta Fresh
In addition to USDA Commodities, low-moderate income families in Mt. Shasta have access to fresh fruits and vegetables between May and September. More than 100 individuals participate in the program.
This innovative program established in the City of Mt. Shasta also supports local agriculture for sourcing and additional distribution at the Farmers’ Market.
The Weed Elementary School Cooking classes teach students about healthy food choices, how to prepare meals, proper portion sizes, how to read nutrition labels, grocery store shopping literacy, as well as basic cooking skills.
At the end of each quarter, the class culminates with a community/family meal prepared by the students. Each of the yearly 60 students receives an apron and cookbook filled with the recipes they made in the class.
Siskiyou Food Pantries
GNS distributes food to emergency food pantries in Siskiyou County, using funding from CDBG Grants, private funders and private food donations.
Security Deposit Assistance
In a program made possible by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the City of Mt. Shasta is offering assistance to qualified residents to meet their rental security deposits. “We designed the program to improve opportunities for safe, affordable housing,” says Crystal Aston, program manager at Great Northern Services.
The program includes the following criteria: The unit to be occupied is located within the city limits, the household applying for assistance is low to moderate income level, the applicant must enter into a minimum one year lease and should they decide to terminate their lease early, they agree to repay the funds in full to the City.
Read more about Security Deposit Assistance.