Written by Ursula Whitfield, Director of Operations, Saint John’s Program for Real Change
Meal time is a big deal here at Saint John’s for Real Change. Although we are on a shoestring budget and heavily rely on the generosity of our donor base, we somehow manage to feed all of the women and children we serve every day a nutritious meal. We follow the food guidelines of the California Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
With the pervasive number of homeless women and children we are serving, the amount of meals we provide has increased by 25% over the past several months. In August alone, we served 4,148 meals to women and children here at Saint John’s. This is nothing short of a miracle by our own Chef Scott. With his expertise in seasonal food buying practices along with access and frequent trips to the Sacramento Food Bank, Chef Scott is able to manage to feed a large number of our clients for just under $200 a day!
Recently, Girl Scout, Athena Eriksson led the effort of creating a Saint John’s Community garden (Athena’s Garden) for our clients. In the spirit of the Farm to Fork environment, the garden will support and allow our clients to maintain and access fresh fruits and vegetables while they are here at Saint John’s. The garden includes fall harvest vegetables of kale, lettuce, onions, asparagus, celery, broccoli and cabbage. This garden is located outside of our dining hall and is easily accessible for Chef Scott to utilize for his meals. We can’t wait until our vegetables come in.
In addition to the spirit of the Farm to Fork movement in the State Capitol, Chef Scott has an open mind and accepts feedback from our clients when it comes to menu creation. Recently, a client wanted Pozole and with the assistance of our Client Services Staff member, Georgia Duran, they were able to coordinate a meal. In the end, the clients were happy with the Pozole and they enjoyed a nutritious meal during the process.