Health, Wellness and Food
Monterey County Gives! 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
AG AGAINST HUNGERYear Founded: 1990 | Paid Staff: 7 | Budget: $550,000 | 755-1480 | www.agagainsthunger.org
The Big Idea: No one should go hungry living in the Salad Bowl of the World – and yet they do. Ag Against Hunger works to change this by connecting farmers, food processors and nonprofit food banks. Its biggest public outreach – the one it’s requesting funding for – is gleaning, in which it leads volunteers into fields that have been commercially harvested. Volunteers then pick the produce that would otherwise be tilled back into the soil. To date, Ag Against Hunger volunteers have gleaned about 65,000 pounds of produce to feed the hungry. But while the crops come free, the equipment – which includes trucks, coolers, forklifts, fuel, bins, etc. – isn’t cheap.
Waste Not: “Without Ag Against Hunger, people who are hungry would not have access to fresh, healthy produce. Also, the edible food we supply to food banks and other agencies might otherwise be dumped.”
ALLIANCE ON AGINGYear Founded: 1970 | Paid Staff: 19 | Budget: $1,500,000 | 655-1334 | www.allianceonaging.org
The Big Idea: Seniors needing everything from basic computer lessons to Medicare education, nursing home advocacy to emotional support, can get it all from the Alliance on Aging. What started as a single program with a handful of volunteers has grown into a multi-purpose agency with staff and volunteers providing services, information and education to seniors, their families and caregivers. The nonprofit also hosts community education seminars on topics such as Medicare, Social Security and long-term care insurance. It needs community support to continue providing these free services.
Holding Everything Together: “Many adults are part of the ‘sandwich generation,’ sandwiched between helping their aging parents while raising their own children. The Alliance on Aging works with the adult children and provides the resources to manage their parents’ needs, which reduces stress and strengthens the whole family.”
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY’S RELAY FOR LIFE OF SALINASYear Founded: 1907 | Paid Staff: 550 | Budget: $1,589,489 | 408-726-5282 | www.cancer.org
The Big Idea: The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Salinas raises money to support the free services offered to cancer patients in Monterey County. This program also funds life-saving research that comes back to the community through medications and prevention findings, awareness and education programs. It’s asking the community to help fund the 2011 Relay For Life of Salinas.
Kick Cancer’s Ass: “The American Cancer Society is driven by over 200,000 volunteers and supported by 550 staff partners, partnering in the fight against cancer and creating a world with more birthdays. Relay For Life of Salinas is a life-changing event that gives everyone in the community a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease.”
BLIND & VISUALLY IMPAIRED CENTER OF MONTEREY COUNTY, INC.Year Founded: 1971 | Paid Staff: 6 | Budget: $485,863 | 649-3505 | www.blindandlowvision.org
The Big Idea: Imagine if you abruptly lost your vision. What if you couldn’t distinguish a tube of antibiotic cream from a tube of toothpaste? Of if you suddenly were unable to drive? Walking from your easy chair to the kitchen becomes a maze. Knowing where food is on your plate becomes a mystery. The Blind and Visually Impaired Center needs help funding its one-on-one services to help people cope with the loss of sight. Its specialists teach people to move safely and perform everyday tasks.
Looking Ahead: “A gentleman in his 30s who suddenly lost his sight says this: ‘I didn’t walk for three years because I could not see. I was stuck at home and I couldn’t do anything. The doctor gave me the BVIC’s number. I learned how to walk, how to be a person again, to talk to people and enjoy life.’”
THE CARMEL FOUNDATIONYear Founded: 1950 | Paid Staff: 24 | Budget: $2,461,025 | 624-1588 | www.carmelfoundation.org
The Big Idea: The Carmel Foundation’s meal program provides chef-prepared, nutritious lunches for seniors four days a week. Lunch always includes a hot entree, two soups, an array of salads and a dessert. Everyone needs healthy eats, but this service is vital for seniors for two reasons: eating healthy helps brain and body function, and it offers an opportunity to connect with others, preventing social isolation. Meals don’t cost much – about $4 per lunch – so they’re affordable to seniors regardless of income level. The foundation also delivers four meals every other week to homebound folks, which can give caregivers a break or augment other meal services.
Where Everybody Knows Your Name: “The Carmel Foundation is a place where people care about their neighbors and look out for each other. It was founded by a small group who wanted a place for camaraderie, learning and adventures. Sixty years later, it is providing that and more.”
CENTRAL COAST HIV/AIDS SERVICESYear Founded: 1988 | Paid Staff: 10 | Budget: $1,000,000 | 394-4747 | www.cchas.org
The Big Idea: Last year, California lawmakers cut $52 million in education and prevention funding for the state, which eliminated 95 percent of the Central Coast HIV/AIDS Services’ funding for its Education, Prevention and Testing Program. It’s hoping the community will help out so it can fund this program in 2011. Community health outreach workers go into schools, jails, bars, clubs and soup kitchens, talk to people about the dangers of high-risk behaviors, and educate them about how to protect themselves. They also provide free HIV and Hep-C testing, and a place for syringe exchange to minimize HIV transmission among injection drug users – because education, prevention and testing are the most effective means of keeping people HIV free.
Preventative Measures: “CCHAS is the only AIDS service organization in Monterey County. Our goal is to identify those who are at risk and give them the tools they need to remain HIV negative.”
FOOD BANK FOR MONTEREY COUNTYYear Founded: 1990 | Paid Staff: 16 | Budget: $2,351,800 cash; $13,811,600 including in-kind | 758-1523 | www.food4hungry.org
The Big Idea: The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which is in need of grant money, is the Food Bank’s largest direct distribution program. It has grown at an unprecedented rate because of the economic downturn. In three years, the average monthly service level for this program has risen 91 percent, nearly double what it was before. During the 2006-07 fiscal year, the Food Bank served 36,218 households through the Emergency Food Assistance Program. The following year, the number of households jumped to 55,964. And in 2008-09, 69,278 households received Emergency Food Assistance Program food.
Hunger Pains: “I am 66 years old. I am working 20 hours per week at the Food Bank as a senior aide, a program operated by the Alliance on Aging that places seniors in positions with nonprofits. [Otherwise] I don’t know how I would be making it, because with my Social Security widow’s check, I barely make my rent and some of my bills.”
THE HOPE CENTER MONTEREY AT THE MCGOWAN HOUSEYear Founded: 2010 | Paid Staff: 0 | Budget: $40,000 | 915-9160 | www.hopecentermonterey.com
The Big Idea: The Hope Center aims to end hunger on the Peninsula through its permanent food pantry. It’s asking for monetary help or donations so that it can supply items not covered by the WIC and food stamps programs. Families need toiletries, personal care products, household cleaning supplies and pet food, too. While food’s available at reduced cost or for free at various pantries and food drives, these other items are more difficult to come by, and harder to keep stocked in the Hope Center’s pantry.
Helping Hands: “Most of our donors are students. It is also our goal to empower local youth, through their volunteer efforts at The Hope Center, to understand that by helping their neighbors in need, they will make our community a better place to live for everyone.”
INTERIM INC.Year Founded: 1975 | Paid Staff: 160 (includes part-time) | Budget: $8.5 million | 649-4522 | www.interiminc.org
The Big Idea: Interim needs help funding one of the many services it provides annually to more than 1,700 homeless and low-income adults with mental illness: Breakthrough H’Art, an art collective that encourages mentally ill adults to find housing and wellness. The program celebrates creativity as a core element of mental health and helps clients break through the stigma of mental illness. During the last year, Breakthrough H’Art held several gallery showings and developed a tile-mosaic project. The group recently moved into a new workspace, which will support even more artists. Future plans include developing collaborative art projects in public spaces.
Housing and H’Art: “We develop affordable supportive housing for adults with mental illness because it is the most cost-effective way to help them achieve wellness and recovery. We believe every individual, regardless of disability, deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams.”
KERNES ADAPTIVE AQUATICSYear Founded: 1972 | Paid Staff: 7 | Budget: $300,000 | 643-9867 | www.kernespool.org
The Big Idea: Kernes Adaptive Aquatics provides warm-water exercise programs that help children and adults with disabilities rehab from injuries or surgeries or address ongoing conditions – and they want to reach out to more people. The nonprofit is building a new website to not only attract more people in need of its services, but also to act as a resource for information about disabilities and increase community support.
Water World: “Each day, people overcome great challenges to come to Kernes Pool. Mothers bring their children to build skills and self-esteem; elders work to remain independent; people in wheelchairs strive for mobility and strength. They bring their courage and perseverance and find comfort and hope. Two-thirds of those benefitting from our programs are seniors with fixed or low incomes. On average, one-third of our clients, more than half of whom are children, receive financial assistance through scholarships.”
THE ONYX FUND FOR WOMEN AT NATIVIDAD MEDICAL FOUNDATIONYear Founded: 1988 | Paid Staff: 10 | Budget: $708,694 | 755-4187 | www.theonyxfund.com
The Big Idea: Natividad’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Director, Dr. Peter Chandler, and his team came to Natividad Medical Foundation asking for help for their patients. Chandler said, “We see women in pain who are living with a prolapsed uterus, fibroid tumors or bleeding and incontinence. They’re living this way because they’re uninsured and can’t afford the down payment for the elective surgery to correct it.” After meeting Onix – one of Chandler’s patients – Foundation President Linda Ford developed The Onyx Fund for Women to enable medically necessary gynecologic surgery. Ford, a former jewelry designer, designed an onyx necklace in honor of Onix and the many uninsured, working-poor women she represents, to raise money for The Onyx Fund. Help 100 women get the surgery they need now.
Disappearing Patients: “When an uninsured woman is told she needs surgery to correct gynecologic problems, she ‘disappears’ because she has no money for the surgery.”
PRUNEDALE SENIOR CENTER, INC.Year Founded: 1984 | Paid Staff: 2 | Budget: $82,500 | 663-5023
The Big Idea: The Prunedale Senior Center gives seniors the place of their own for good daily nutrition, activities and socialization. Its line-dance class draws participants from as far away as San Juan Bautista and Pacific Grove, while others come from Hollister and Watsonville for art classes. It also delivers hot meals to the frail or disabled homebound, and serves in-house meals daily. The center is asking for community support to continue its ongoing programs.
He’ll Be Back: “While my knees play their unpredictable, wobbly tricks, I hope to get back soon and look forward to everyone’s amiable and good company! A great collection of folks.”