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Blunting Hunger Pangs

calfreshWATSONVILLE > Friday discussion aims to spread awareness of CalFresh eligibility

Santa Cruz County has been taking advantage of more food assistance programs than ever over the last few years, but Second Harvest Food Bank thinks that public awareness of available resources could use a boost.

This Friday, May 11, Second Harvest Food Bank will hold an event highlighting the CalFresh program (formerly known as food stamps and now federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). According to a Second Harvest press release, CalFresh is being seriously underutilized.

“Currently, less than 50 percent of eligible Californians are benefiting from this valuable program,” says Second Harvest’s Deborah Yashar in the press release.

Food aid programs in Santa Cruz have been seeing spikes in use over the past several years. In 2003, 32,618 people in Santa Cruz County were served by the Second Harvest Food Bank. By 2010, that number had grown to 52,400.

 

Students benefiting from free or reduced cost school meals have also increased in number—while still below the California average, students receiving these benefits went from 36.4 percent of students to 50.9 percent.

The number of Santa Cruz County residents living below the poverty line is steadily climbing as well, so programs like CalFresh may be more relevant than ever.

The event will feature several guess speakers, including assemblymembers Bill Monning and Luis Alejo, Jessica Bartholow of the Western Center on Law & Poverty, Claudine Wildman of the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department, and others. It is being sponsored by the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Central Coast Hunger Coalition, and other local food aid relief agencies.

The event will be held Friday, May 11 at 8 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 229 Stanford St. in Watsonville.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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