Pastor Dawn Hargraves: Great news about Good Eats!

adolescents_children_200430Just this morning, Beth Baxter, President of the California Rotary stopped to see me. She wanted an update on the Good Eats Program. She mentioned that it would be good if more folks had this update. I am thankful for that suggestion and the subsequent approval of Carla Anderton, Editor-in-Chief of Pennsylvania Bridges. And so, here is the latest news about Good Eats:

Good Eats is a weekend food ministry born at California United Methodist Church to help food-insecure students at California Area Elementary School. Last year, Good Eats received much needed support through a cooperative effort with California University of Pennsylvania. The university’s Center for Volunteer Programs and Service Learning assigned an intern to the program; this assistance helped us to better manage our food inventory. We improved the logistics of our operations, which include volunteers picking up and unloading food in preparation for volunteer teams to stock food and then pack it in bags for transport to the California Area Elementary School. The bags are distributed there to eligible/participating students in Kindergarten through 4th grade to take home on Fridays.

During the 2017-2018 school year, the Good Eats program served from 80 to 113 students per week: 26 weeks X approximately 100 students = 3600 bags!

The good news of Good Eats is abundant. We are excited that the Good Eats program will now be based at the California Area Elementary School. All Good Eats work at the school will take place after school hours. Housing the program at the school will improve logistics, meet people power needs, and increase accessibility to food. For example, the number of trips needed for food delivery will be reduced to just one trip, extra bags and food will be on hand for teachers who encounter emergency needs, and undistributed food bags can be quickly restocked. The food will be where it is needed.

More good news: with the tremendous financial support we’ve received from the community, civic organizations, and churches—plus the award of two grants—Good Eats will now serve students in two additional grades, covering students in Kindergarten through 6th grade. Students who receive reduced-price lunches will receive a bag of food on Fridays. A few weeks after the school year begins, the parents/grandparents/guardians of these students can choose to opt out of the program. As always, the bags will be distributed discreetly to respect the dignity of the students.

The Good Eats program continues to set big goals. We are earnestly seeking corporate and individual sponsorships. Because we purchase food through the Washington County Food Bank, having the program half- or fully funded by such sponsorships would allow us to consider further expansion. Financial support and specific food donations are welcomed and accepted by calling California United Methodist Church at 724-938-2270.

We are grateful to the California area for its continual support of this program. Thank you to Cal U, local churches and civic organizations, individual contributors, California United Methodist Church, California Area Elementary School, and all the volunteers.

Good Eats – feeding school-age children every weekend during the school year so that every child thrives and learns. Now that’s good news!

In hope, Pastor Dawn