On Saturday, May 9, 2015, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will collect food donations in order to provide assistance to the millions of Americans who are struggling with hunger. Celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, having collected more than one billion pounds of food since its inception as a national food drive in 1993. The nation’s 180,000 letter carriers will collect food donations left at the mailboxes of generous Americans in more than 10,000 communities and deliver them to food banks and other hunger-relief organizations, such as Interfaith Community Services.
Jerry Morgan, Director of Food and Basic Needs at Interfaith, is optimistic that local collections in Escondido will reach the 75,000-pound level, thanks to the help of the Escondido and Orange Glenn post offices. Bags will be distributed to homes in which customers can leave food on their doorsteps to be collected.
“The ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ food drive is the single most significant food drive that we have every year,” said Morgan. “It is held the second Saturday in May every year, which just so happens to be about the time we start running out of the food we collected during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.”
Customers are encouraged to fill the bags they’re given with non-perishable food items that will be delivered to Interfaith. Last year’s drive brought in 74.4 million pounds of food nationally, bringing the total collected since the drive began to 1.3 billion pounds.
Wonder what items are great to donate to the food drive? Here are a few non-perishable food item ideas:
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Canned meals such as soups, chili, pasta
- 100% juice
- Peanut butter
- Pasta sauce
- Macaroni and cheese
- Canned protein – tuna, chicken, turkey
- Beans – canned or dry
For more information about how you can contribute to the 2015 Stamp Out Hunger food drive, contact Interfaith Community Services at 760.489.6380.
For more than six years, Clearly Clean Janitorial has provided high quality business janitorial services to its customers, while maintaining a supportive work-training environment for clients of Interfaith Community Services. Clearly Clean employs veterans, non-veterans, and clients who may have mental or physical disabilities, or face other barriers to employment.
Valerie, an Escondido resident, has been employed with Clearly Clean for nearly a year and a half. While overcoming addiction and living in one of Interfaith’s housing programs, she was approached by her house manager with an offer: a temporary cleaning job.
“I had never done that type of work before, but I knew how to keep my house clean and in order so I figured I could give it a shot,” said Valerie.
Due to her dedicated work ethic and cheerful personality, Valerie’s temporary job turned into a permanent position. Today, she works for Clearly Clean six days a week, rotating between shifts cleaning Interfaith’s Escondido-based Nutrition Center, a jewelry store in Carlsbad, and a church in Vista.
“The people here keep me motivated,” said Valerie. “I like my shifts and this work is good for me; it keeps me out of trouble and on my toes. It’s all worked out more than I ever thought it would.”
All fees collected from the Clearly Clean Janitorial Services program are utilized to pay a salary to the crew, provide them with training, as well as cover the cost of supplies and equipment to grow the program.
Interfaith Community Services is now looking for additional businesses in North County San Diego to contract with Clearly Clean Janitorial services! To learn more about the program and how your business can get involved, please contact Accursio Scalia, Site Supervisor, at email@example.com or at 760489.6380 x 204.
Interfaith is excited to announce that local company M2 Demolition has donated 100% of their demolition services to assist in the renovation of the new Veteran and Family Resource Center at 250 N. Ash Street in Escondido, an in-kind donation of more than $40,000. Through the generosity of Dorothy and Tom Hawthorne, the purchase of this former medical office building has created the opportunity to provide a full range of services to veterans and families in this part of the community. Upon its completion, this 10,000 square foot facility will enhance Interfaith’s ability to carry out its mission of Helping People Help Themselves.
The search for a demolition company began in late 2014 and was led by Dan Dreesen, Senior Project Manager for Johnson & Jennings, the project’s general contractor. Johnson & Jennings solicited proposals from the community for their participation and narrowed down the responses they received to four local companies interested in the job, one of whom being M2 Demolition.
“I’ve done several projects with M2, and they are always very accommodating and professional,” said Dreesen. “When they offered to donate their full scope of services, we were beyond excited.”
Steve Morgan started M2 Demolition, based in El Cajon, with partner Nick Manalo three years ago after nearly 40 years in the construction industry. An avid supporter of the military community, when Morgan saw an ad placed by Johnson & Jennings to bid on the demolition, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I’d love to house the homeless, but that’s not what I know how to do,” said Steve. “But I do know demolition. This way, it’s a perfect fit.”
After bringing his wife Ruth Anne with him on a walkthrough of the job site, Steve researched Interfaith Community Services’ programs and services, and decided to offer the demolition of the Veteran and Family Resource Center pro bono.
“We really like to see that our donation actually makes an impact and doesn’t get lost in the shuffle,” said Steve. “We have so much respect for Interfaith; it’s nice to be a small piece of the work that’s being done here.”
“Steve and Nick really embody Interfaith’s practical focus on maximizing the unique talents, expertise, and resources of our community supporters,” said Interfaith Executive Director Greg Anglea. “Their in-kind donation here moves us closer to opening this new resource for homeless, hurting veterans.”
After beginning the demolition of the building earlier this month, Steve and his team will wrap up their work on the building at the end of March.
“It’s very rare to see the owner of a demolition company at the job site,” said Dreesen, “but there is always at least one, if not two, of the owners of M2 Demolition at the building making sure everything is going smoothly.”
Interfaith Community Services thanks M2 Demolition for their donation and help with this project. To complete the building of the new Veteran and Family Resource Center, $3.15 million will be raised from generous donors throughout the community; to date, $1.8 million has been raised. For more information about how you can contribute to the Veteran and Family Resource Center, please contact Robert Adams, Chief Development Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 760.489.6380 x 206.
After completing the first three months of the Senior Connections Program, Interfaith Community Services is happy to report it has been a huge success! Operating out of a mobile food truck, the program provides lunch and activities to North County seniors in Vista and San Marcos.
Nearly 70 participating seniors from all four program locations were surveyed based on their experiences with the Senior Connections Program; questions included in the survey ranged from the quality of the food, to the value of the educational topics presented. Those surveyed were also asked for general comments on the program as a whole. After conducting the surveys, 90% of seniors agreed and/or strongly agreed that the program has improved their overall nutrition and 100% of seniors reported that the program has improved their weekly socialization.
“This is a wonderful program!” said one anonymous survey participant. “I’ve spoken to many encouraging them to come. The food is excellent and the people involved are very kind, friendly, helpful and personable.”
Facilitated by a three-year grant from the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation and a partnership with Dreams for Change, the Senior Connections Program implements a food-friends-health approach to improving senior physical and mental wellness. Because the North County area is geographically spread out, the truck acts as a mobile resource center for local residents. By providing seniors access to a meal, as well as brining them together in a social and educational setting, Interfaith is offering a holistic, all-encompassing service to participants.
“I think this is an excellent program for seniors,” said another anonymous participant. “Food, friends, information and entertainment – and its totally affordable.
The food truck, named Thyme Together, serves lunches and accompanying activities Monday through Thursday every week at two mobile home parks and two faith centers along the Route 78 corridor. The schedule is as follows:
Mondays 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, Vista Village Mobile Home Park, Vista
Tuesdays 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, San Marcos Lutheran Church, San Marcos
Wednesdays 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, St. Francis of Assisi, Vista
Thursdays 11:30 am – 2:30pm, El Dorado Mobile Home Park, San Marcos
Seniors in attendance order their three-course lunches from an Interfaith Community Services staff member and are then invited to socialize while they are served their meals. After finishing their lunches, seniors are welcome to participate in the day’s activity. To date, activities have included line dancing, sing-a-longs, educational talks about nutrition, and more.
“Thank you so much,” said a San Marcos senior. “This is an excellent program. The socializing and convenience is so important. The food is delicious, the speakers are fun, and the volunteers are friendly, helpful and wonderful!
Interfaith thanks the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation and Dreams for Change for their participation and support. For more information on potential Volunteer Opportunities with the Senior Connections Program, as well as information on Interfaith Community Services, please click here.