Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Good Thing trumps Trump

orchid cactus bloom
something beautiful from something not so
dedicated to volunteers

   Lana and I have joined other volunteers in thumbing our noses at the Trump budget cuts and the Republican tax break for the wealthy that puts poor kids at risk. We are delivering summer lunches to kids who might not eat otherwise. It is happening in communities across the nation.
    Devastating budget cuts eliminated federal support to the supplemental nutrition assistance program. This put many  children at risk especially those who rely on school lunches as their primary meal of the day.
     We are working with Cambria Connection, a support and facilitation group that stepped up to make the summer lunch program work here.
         Cambria Connection raised the funds and put the pieces together. A high percentage of north coast San Luis Obispo County children live at or near poverty levels.
        Volunteers meet at Cambria Connection offices to pick up shipment coolers.

         Coast Union Campus
    The kids qualify for meal programs at school and social workers say it is the only reliable source of nutrition. The Coast Union High School Cafeteria was contracted to provide the food and lunch preparation during the summer recess.
           Crates of milk and boxes of sack lunches are readied.
       Some of you may be wondering why is there such a cluster of children in poverty in an area of retirees, vacation land, vineyards and ranches? They are the children of those who work in the hospitality industry-motel cleaners, gardeners, cooks, wait staff, repairmen, contractors, builders. 
        A poverty agency social worker says most of the parents work multiple jobs, sometimes as many as 3 apiece. She said these are people who could afford reasonable rent but they may not have social security numbers or credit cards  so they pay more for less in places where they must cluster together in one room, in an old motel, trying to cook on a hot plate or microwave. She said she has to be careful about how hard to push because it could make things worse.
        They've been here for years, have great worth ethic, are family people who are trying to make a better life, they contribute to the community, pay taxes, but they are between a rock and hard place. This administration's immigration tantrums has made life even more challenging and frightening especially for the kids. 
         Our Safe Harbor Presbyterian church like others have pitched in to help with funding and do the delivery of food to these children who are in need.
         Volunteers check random samples for temperature and record it in a journal.

   Great care is taken. This is an effort of love and service. 

     Up to one hundred sack lunches, prepared by Coast Union cafeteria, are loaded into coolers.

         Once the coolers are loaded and checked volunteers drive to the distribution points.
            The primary destination is an apartment complex in San Simeon, in the shadow of the famous Hearst Castle. At this location 60 meals are left in the refrigerator in the community room. There are other delivery points as well.
        This method allows families and children to collect the food privately. Since the administration has stepped up ICE enforcement, many have been reluctant to participate in large gatherings.
           The Cambria Connection staff monitors the distribution point. In the first lunch distribution all but 10 of the meals were taken the first day. By mid-day the second day they were gone. Boxes of produce are delivered and used. 
       Our little villages Cambria and San Simeon are small players in the overall scope of things, but each of the meals, delivered twice a week this summer is nothing small or insignificant to children who are hungry
         In communities around the US, organizations like Cambria Connection and local churches are stepping up efforts.
           Despite the tone of the current administration, programs like the summer lunch emergency assistance demonstrates that millions of US citizens adhere to a different set of values. As the Cambria Connection statement says, "Everyone Matters."

something else that is lovely

   Finally, finally, the bougainvillea seems to have decided to grow up this post.
   Lana's grandmother's orchid cactus is having an sensational season of blooms.  Look at those in cue.

    See you down the trail.


  1. Good work feeding the kids. Beautiful flowers.

  2. Attaboy Tom! Proud of you to do wonderful work for fellow humans in need.

  3. Great Post. Thanks for helping those in need. It is rewarding to see people keeping the real Christian tradition of service alive.