Two nonprofits granted meal stipend to help food insecure
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to a budget tweak that will lead to help for low income families.
A $465,000 grant, approved unanimously by supervisors, assists the Interfaith Food Ministry.
Mike Dent, director of Housing and Child Support Services, said that in addition to feeding the food insecure, the funds will also purchase a large capacity generator to keep food fresh daily. Also, IFM will obtain a 10,000-pound capacity truck with a lift gate for deliveries. It will also install a standard commercial kitchen at 440 Henderson Road.
IFM Executive Director Phil Alonso thanked Dent for going after the grant, which isn’t easy to obtain.
“The idea is to reduce food insecurity with culinary education, teaching baking and crock pot preparation,” said Alonso. “But we’ll also address long-term insecurity by teaching clients healthy food choices — more fruits and vegetables.”
The grant will also help free up clients’ income — eligible for those under $68,000 a year for a family of four — to spend on other needs: housing, utilities, childcare and gas that typical family budgets juggle each month, making the ministry’s mission more achievable.
A second grant for $350,000 was directed to Gold Country Community Services. Those funds will be used to increase the one meal it serves seniors to two meals a day, as well as expanding to weekends and during emergencies such as Public Safety Power Shut-off events.
“Its a pretty big deal,” said Dent.
Janeth Marroletti, executive director of Gold Country Community Services, said that one meal per day is inadequate nutrition.
“It’s a huge improvement, and we’ll be able to bring meals to 600 low income seniors,” she said. “And many of the seniors are frail and have limited mobility.”
It will also now bring food to areas previously missed, such as the town of Washington and Lake of the Pines.
Supervisor Heidi Hall praised both operations, though she noted it was a one time payment and inquired about alternative funding.
Alonso said there’s a strategy for both short- and long-term. He noted an application is in the works for a resiliency grant through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Other sources of aid include Gold County collaborating with Sierra Harvest, Marroletti said. She’s also are partnering with restaurants such as Friar Tuck’s in Nevada City.
“In 2020, we spent $37,000 on locally produced items,” Alonso said. “And through July this year we reached $40,000. We purchased produce from 10 local farms.”
Marroletti said part of the funds will go toward a purchase of a vehicle to get to remote areas previously inaccessible, as well as adding holiday meals.
“For anyone who is food insecure, they should dial 211 (part of United Way worldwide),” Alonso said. “They’ll go through what your requests are and it will matriculate down. Keep a list of five neighbors you can depend upon (to avoid isolation). And designate a neighbor to help pick up items that you need.”
William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com
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