On August 10th, a group of eight volunteers at Inner Light Ministries in Soquel celebrated the completion of six one-hour workshops to become certified as Nutrition Ambassadors for Second Harvest. The Inner Light pantry has been in place for two years and is one of Second Harvest’s 200 member agencies and programs that help distribute food to more than 50,000 Santa Cruz County residents each month.
Now, as a participant in Second Harvest’s Passion For Produce program, the site will begin offering bi-monthly nutrition education classes prior to distributions. Cooking demonstrations will be used to show people how to prepare the seasonal fruits and vegetables that are being distributed.
Second Harvest’s Nutrition Programs Manager, Teresa Moran, said this was one of the easiest Passion For Produce sites she has certified since the program began. The facility was already offering food tastings in an effort to introduce people to fruits and vegetables that they may never have tasted before, and the volunteers were familiar with many of the nutrition principles in the Passion For Produce classes.
The volunteers at Inner Light work hard to make food distributions run smoothly and ensure that the low-income clients they serve are treated with dignity in a welcoming environment that is more like a small community. They serve an average of 130 people each week and have had as many 180 people.
The group at Inner Light are passionate about what they are doing. They enjoy working hard and helping people. They say that they do what they do because they want to build a strong and healthy community.
One of the volunteers, Zelma, put it this way, “I know what it’s like to be poor. As a child we didn’t have much, but we shared what we had.”