Food

Saturday, July 4, 2020

CR Offering Frontline Workers De-escalation, Assertiveness Training

Posted By on Sat, Jul 4, 2020 at 2:00 PM

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Many in the customer service industry and public sector jobs are bearing the brunt of resentment — and too often outright hostility — toward COVID-19 health and safety protocols meant to protect workers and the public as Humboldt County teeters on the precipice of becoming yet another California hotspot.

To help employees and business owners navigate these tempestuous waters, College of the Redwoods is offering free online classes in “awareness, de-escalation and assertiveness skills” from mid-July to Aug. 1.

(Read more about the challenges restaurants are facing in this week’s story “Restaurant Mask Drama,” in which owners and servers talk about the toll being argued with and cussed at on a daily basis is taking on them.)

To register for the classes, call CR’s Workforce and Community Education Program at 476-4500 or go to https://www.redwoods.edu/communityed/online. Space is limited.

Read the College of the Redwoods release below:

College of the Redwoods is offering free online trainings on awareness, de-escalation, and assertiveness skills for workers interacting with the public.

Trainings will be offered through CR’s Workforce and Community Education Program from the middle of July through August 1 and are being paid for by CR’s Foundation.

“We were approached by Susan Seaman, the Mayor of Eureka, about the need for de-escalation trainings and this was echoed by community leaders on the COVID Economic Resilience Committee (CERC) weekly calls, being hosted by the North Coast Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission (RREDC),” said Marty Coelho, Executive Director of College Advancement and the CR Foundation.

“A large number of our businesses and organizations have a plan for all sorts of situations but we don’t plan to routinely deal with angry customers when things can get out of control. This collaborative effort between the CR’s Foundation and Community Education will provide clients with strategies for resolving those situations. It’s also another example of how CR is responding to the needs of our community,” said Keith Flamer, President of College of the Redwoods.

Susan Seaman, City of Eureka’s Mayor said, "With growing economic stress, political divisiveness, and so few answers about what to expect in the near future, people's nerves are frayed. We have heard time and again about customers taking it out on service providers. I'm so grateful that College of the Redwoods Foundation recognized that de-escalation and assertiveness training can be a valuable tool for employees to help them navigate this uncertain road."

CR’s free Awareness, De-Escalation & Assertiveness online trainings will be offered to the following industry groups: retail workers on Saturday, July 18 from 8:30 – 11 am; hospitality workers on Saturday, July 18 from 2 – 4:30 pm; grocery workers on Thursday, July 23 from 8:30 – 11 am; city/county frontline workers on Thursday, July 23 from 2 – 4:30 pm; and child care workers on Saturday, August 1 from 8:30 -11 am.

“We can train up to 25 workers for each industry group. Normally the class would cost at least $35 per person, but the CR Foundation will cover the $4,375 in fees for these classes,” said Coelho.

CR’s Workforce and Community Education Program partners with the community to contribute to the economic vitality of the region, provides workforce training to support local employers' needs, and provides lifelong learning opportunities within the Redwoods Community College District.

“The Workforce and Community Education Program is a valuable local asset. CR offers high quality trainings that can be quickly responsive to community needs, “ said Danny Kelley, Foundation board member and CR Board of Trustee’s Vice-President.

To register for CR’s free online trainings for Awareness, De-Escalation & Assertiveness, call CR’s Workforce and Community Education Program at 707-476-4500 or go to https://www.redwoods.edu/communityed/online. Space is limited.
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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Food for People, Local Districts Work Together to Continue Bringing Children Lunches During the Summer

Posted By and on Sun, Jun 7, 2020 at 4:04 PM

UPDATE:

A coordinated effort between Food for People, the Humboldt County Office of Education and local school districts will see the Children’s Summer Lunch program continue this year.

Food for People Executive Director Anne Holcomb said a number of factors led to changes in the nonprofit’s role in the program that provides lunches to children from low-income households on weekdays during the summer. Instead of running all of the sites — as Food for People has done for the past 23 years — some parts of the county will now be covered by individual school districts.

For example, Eureka City Schools will not only be covering its district, but distributing lunches in Fortuna, Rio Dell and Loleta while the Arcata School District covers that city.

Food for People, meanwhile, will concentrate on reaching children in the county’s outlying areas, such as Willow Creek, Hoopa and Southern Humboldt.

“The ultimate goal in this, which kept me up at night, was how do we feed kids this summer,” Holcomb said.

Food for People has faced a number of challenges in recent months, including a sewage backup at its main building in March that caused more than a $100,000 in structural damage and food loss just as the COVID-19 pandemic was creating a surge in the need for its services.

Coupled with social distancing restrictions that limit the number of volunteers who could come together to make the lunches and uncertainty about whether the USDA would continue to waive the rule that each child must be present to accept the lunch and instead allow parents to do the pickup to reduce gatherings at distribution sites, Holcomb said the decision was made to look for creative ways of making the lunch program work.

“This year required some new partners to make that happen,” Holcomb said.

The Arcata School District has announced its sites, which will run Monday through Friday June 15 to Aug. 24, with breakfast and lunch served in one bag. The main serving site will be Arcata Elementary (noon-1 p.m.), augmented by the following mobile sites: 2575 Alliance Road (11 a.m.-11:20 a.m.), Arcata Elementary (11:30-11:50 a.m.), Rotary Park (noon-12:10 p.m.), Greenview Park (12:25-12:35 p.m.), Manila Market (12:45-1:05 p.m.), and Phillips Court in Manila (1:10-1:15 p.m.). The schedule is subject to change – call (707) 839-5219 with any questions.

Meanwhile, details are still being worked out on where, when and how the lunches will be distributed in several other areas. More details on the ECS sites are expected to be announced this week.


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The Arcata School District is offering its first Summer Meals Program starting June 15 and continuing through Aug. 24.

A press release announcing the endeavor states, "Although the District is facing sharp budget cuts due to COVID-19, reducing the threat of malnutrition is a top priority. The District invites all children to participate in the summer service, especially those who do not have consistent access to healthy food outside of school."

Meals consist of breakfast and lunch served in one bag and are available Monday-Friday at Arcata Elementary School and Sunny Brae Middle School as well as five community sites. The program is funded in part by a donation from Coast Central Credit Union.

For more information about the Summer Meals Program, including distribution sites and times, read the full press release here:

The Arcata School District is pleased to announce its first Summer Meals Program, running from June 15-August 24 at Arcata Elementary School, Sunny Brae Middle School, and five community sites. All children 18 and under are welcome to these free meals, and people 21 and under who are disabled may also participate.
The District recognizes that nutrition plays a vital role in the healthy development and successful education of children. A lack of nourishing diet options can lead to stunted mental and physical development, and can affect a child’s emotional responses, reactions to stress, and personal-social skills. With the cancellation of Food for People’s annual Summer Food Program, the District stepped up from being a serving site to developing its own summer meal service. Although the District is facing sharp budget cuts due to COVID- 19, reducing the threat of malnutrition is a top priority. The District invites all children to participate in the summer service, especially those who do not have consistent access to healthy food outside of school.

Meals will be offered Monday-Friday, with breakfast and lunch served in one bag. The main serving site will be Arcata Elementary (12:00-1:00), augmented by the following mobile sites: 2575 Alliance Road (11:00-11:20), Arcata Elementary (11:30-11:50), Rotary Park (12:00-12:10), Greenview Park (12:25-12:35), Manila Market (12:45-1:05), and Phillips Court in Manila (1:10-1:15). The schedule is subject to change – call (707) 839-5219 with any questions.

The District’s Summer Meals Program is funded in part by a generous donation from the Coast Central Credit Union. Anyone interested in making a monetary donation to the Program can contact Food Service Director Carson Brady at (707) 839-5219 or cbrady@arcatasd.org. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

For more information about the Arcata School District, visit arcataschooldistrict.org.
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Monday, June 1, 2020

Food for People Emergency Food Distribution in Arcata Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 1:39 PM

Cars line up for Food for People's food box distribution April 10. - PHIL GUTIERREZ
  • Phil Gutierrez
  • Cars line up for Food for People's food box distribution April 10.
Food for People will hold an Emergency Drive Through Food Distribution in Arcata on Wednesday, June 3, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center parking lot (321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway).

Food for People would like to emphasize that the food drive is drive-through only, no bicycles or walkers will be allowed. For the safety of participants and to minimize face-to-face interactions, volunteers will be loading food directly into trunks.

Read the full press release below: 
Emergency Arcata Food Distribution to Help Those Suffering Due to the COVID-19 Crisis

Have you been impacted by the current pandemic due to lost wages or revenues and find yourself struggling to make ends meet? Food for People will hold an emergency drive-through food box distribution on Wednesday, June 3rd from 2:30-4:30 pm.

The drive through will take place in the Arcata Community Center parking lot at 321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. The parking lot will open at 2:00.

Participants must remain in their cars and volunteers will load the food directly into your trunk in order to minimize face to face interactions and practice safe social distancing. Please note that this is a drive-through only. In order to keep everyone safe, no bicycles or walkers will be allowed.

If you are on foot or on a bicycle we ask that you go to the Arcata Food Pantry at Trinity Baptist Church located at 2450 Alliance Rd. (across from Murphy’s Market) which is open from 3-6 p.m. every Wednesday.


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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Pandemic Widens Gaps in Regional Food Supply Chain

Posted By on Sat, May 30, 2020 at 10:37 AM

A Cooperation Humboldt volunteer loads a food box into the trunk of a car. - PHIL GUTIERREZ
  • Phil Gutierrez
  • A Cooperation Humboldt volunteer loads a food box into the trunk of a car.
Can we feed ourselves? This is a question the staff of the Humboldt Food Policy Council (a branch of the larger California organization) has been asking since 2012. Now, with COVID-19 crimping the distribution chain for larger grocery stores and more local residents going hungry due to economic losses, the question seems more important than ever. The answer is complicated.

“It’s been a big question for a while,” says May Patino, HFPC coordinator. “Do we have enough food to sustain the people who live in this region? The reality is we don’t actually know.”

In 2018, the California Department of Public Health released a study revealing that roughly one quarter of Humboldt County children experience food insecurity. Food deserts – census tracts where residents live more than 10 miles from a major grocery store or have little access to transportation to get to fresh food – are one cause of food insecurity. Humboldt County has 10 such census tracts (out of 31 total).

HFPC recently received a grant from the Humboldt Area Foundation to create an emergency food system response that would help pool and share distribution among different organizations. (Full disclosure: I am employed part-time by HAF.) One model under consideration would use a central and satellite hubs for distribution – a place where farmers, for example, could bring product that would be repackaged and redistributed at scale to need.

“We’re hoping this will turn into something that will be adapted and can be reactivated in emergency food situations,” says Patino “We would like to increase some long term food sustainability systems in the region.”

The North Coast Grower’s Association has already taken steps to aggregate supply by creating the Harvest Box Program – a multi-farmer CSA that families can order through the NCGA website.

Michelle Wyler, managing director of the Farm to Market program for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, praised the nimble response of local farmers to COVID’s challenges.

“In general, when COVID hit folks, we had to think about pivoting pretty immediately to more direct sales models,” she says.

Wyler works with farmers statewide and says the Humboldt food system had some advantages, including a well-established sales base in local farmers markets and a later start to the growing season that gave local producers more time to figure out a response. While in other parts of the state some farmers have had to scale back or dump product because they couldn’t sell it or pay for the labor to harvest product, in Humboldt farmers are maintaining or even ramping up production to meet demand.

“It’s been a resurgence for the local food market,” says Wyler, adding that another advantage is that local farmers are less reliant on restaurant or wholesale sales, and thus the restaurant industry’s nosedive due to shelter in place is not having the same ripple effects on farmers that it might in other areas of the state.

“A next step would be figuring out what product is viable locally,” says Wyler. “Local product is not going to fill demand.”

To meet demand through larger suppliers and non-local producers, the problem is again distribution. Humboldt County is often compared to an island because of its rural remove from the rest of the state and — like an island – some worry that it could be cut off from the supply chain entirely.

Melanie Bettenhausen, HFPC member and former general manager of the North Coast Co-Op, thinks about distribution a lot.

“We’re so dependent on food that’s coming [from] out of the area,” she says, adding that unwieldy nature of some federal relief programs has revealed the vulnerability of our isolation. “Just participating in some of the USDA programs that are related to COVID-19 relief— they don’t go through our area. They’re for Northern California and Santa Rosa is Northern California. You have to convince drivers to divert from the I-5. And then often they have to be reloaded onto a smaller truck so they can get through Richardson Grove.”

This is true, too, she says, for grocery stores and other wholesale suppliers, many of which struggled to keep ahead of product shortages in the early days of the pandemic. This bottleneck exacerbated an existing problem for small service providers, especially those in rural areas.

“The thing we have keyed into in relation to pandemic is we have organizations who need access to food and they aren’t able to order from distributors, and they also aren’t able to purchase enough of the supplies they need at the store,” Bettenhausen says. “They’re treating all organizations the same.”

Bettenhausen says many smaller nonprofits, such as those that feed or house people, go to Costco or WinCo and buy what their clients need at retail prices, which is not cost effective. But most distributors have a minimum order price that is out of reach for nonprofits. A distribution hub model would be a better solution — allowing bulk purchasing that could be aggregated and then redistributed according to need. But that model comes with its own logistical challenges: cold storage, billing, moving product in and out of the facility. And then there’s the continued challenge of reaching rural areas, which would require refrigerated trucking and a sustainable financial model.

“Our food system feels precarious,” Bettenhausen says. “I personally think we need some policies at the county level addressing food policies and a system response to need. I saw the lack at the co-op when we had the planned power outage, all that food going to waste. The assumption was that those grocery stores are there to sell food but what if they can’t? The solution could be as simple as a partnership with the county to make sure grocery stores have generators.”

These supply chain issues, Bettenhausen says, have been apparent for a long time. It’s only now that they’ve become a more urgent priority.

“These are things are things we’ve known, but a lot of times because there’s no crisis, we have no momentum,” she said. COVID-19 may have changed that.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number of census tracts in Humboldt County, which is 31, not 25. We apologize for the error.
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Friday, May 29, 2020

Salvation Army to Host Drive-Thru Food Box Distribution

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2020 at 8:01 PM

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The Salvation Army of Eureka is hosting a drive-thru food box distribution at its Tydd Street location from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday to help those in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

A news release states 400 boxes will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and individuals are asked to bring identification. The idea of the drive-thru is to help “ensure the safety of clients, employees and volunteers amid the pandemic,” according to the Salvation Army.

“The Salvation Army’s mission is to meet human need without discrimination,” the release states. “When this crisis began, the nonprofit stepped up its services to help those most vulnerable. Providing food has been a main part of that response.”

The Salvation Army of Eureka is located at 2123 Tydd St. For more information, click here or call 442-6475.
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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Eureka Offers Free Café Permits

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 4:19 PM

In support of restaurants offering dine-in service with the state and OSHA requirements for social distancing, the city of Eureka is offering free permits for café tables and chairs on sidewalks. Patio and indoor seating are allowed starting Friday, May 29 for those businesses with safety plans already approved by the Office of Emergency Services.

Read the full press release below:

Continue reading »

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Dine-in Approved Restaurants Can Open Friday. Will They?

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 10:51 AM

Tuesday the county cleared restaurants with safety plans approved by the Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center to open for dine-in service as soon as Friday. A list of those restaurants is below and being updated daily on the county's website here, much like the list of retailers approved for walk-in business on the same page. However, not every restaurant on the list is making the jump just yet.

The booths at Campground, where diners will be seated starting Friday, May 29. - PHOTO BY AMY KUMLER
  • Photo by Amy Kumler
  • The booths at Campground, where diners will be seated starting Friday, May 29.

Meredith Maier of Six Rivers Brewery put together a plan for her restaurant to follow not only state and OSHA guidelines, like masks for staff and tables 6 feet apart, but a set of house rules, including only admitting those 21 and over, seating at only five tables and offering counter service as opposed to full dining service. But Six Rivers won't be seating diners on Friday. And it won't until the staff unanimously agrees it should.

“We’ve been having lots of staff meetings from the beginning,” she says. “What’s everyone’s level of comfort? ... I don’t want people coming to work and feeling scared. I want them to feel we’re doing what’s right for us and right for them and keeping their friends and family and our customers safe and healthy.”

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Friday Night Market Offers Virtual Vending for Local Businesses

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2020 at 11:13 AM

Humboldt County won't be ready for gatherings by Eureka's Friday Night Market's original opening date of June 5. Until it gets the all-clear from county health and safety officials, Humboldt Made is setting up an online marketplace for local businesses, taking orders and arranging pick-up.

The crowd listening to live music at a Friday Night Market last year. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • The crowd listening to live music at a Friday Night Market last year.

In an email, Executive Director Alanna Powell says the online version of the market at www.eurekafridaynightmarket.com will feature the same variety of local products, ranging from food and artisan crafts to apparel, as well as a restaurant takeout listings and a gallery of local art. The public will be able to peruse and order on the site, and pick up their purchases at the Eureka Visitor Center. There will be a 15 percent processing fee for vendors, who cans submit up to five products to the market.
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Pandemic Food Stamps Offer up to $365 Per Child

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2020 at 9:58 AM

California is sending pandemic food cards to qualifying students. In this file photo, Antionette Martinez and her son Caden, 5, who receive CalFresh, do their weekly grocery shop at FoodMaxx on July 26, 2019. - ANNE WERNIKOFF FOR CALMATTERS
  • Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
  • California is sending pandemic food cards to qualifying students. In this file photo, Antionette Martinez and her son Caden, 5, who receive CalFresh, do their weekly grocery shop at FoodMaxx on July 26, 2019.

Families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals at their schools — regardless of immigration status — may notice something in the mail to help them buy groceries.

California is issuing one-time food stamps with credits of up to $365 per child to help qualifying families get through the coronavirus outbreak. The Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer card, or P-EBT, from the Department of Social Services is an emergency disaster benefit that can be used to buy food and groceries, including online at Walmart and Amazon.

The first cards arrived last week for families receiving CalFresh, Medi-Cal or foster care benefits as a supplement to their EBT card. The second phase, which starts Friday, requires low-income families to apply at here.

The deadline to apply is June 30.


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Friday, May 15, 2020

Update: Mixed Messages Lead Ferndale Restaurants to Open (Almost) for Dining

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 5:37 PM

UPDATE: The Ferndale Chamber of Commerce’s Lisa Slater responded to the Journal over the phone, saying, “It was a complete misunderstanding” and she takes full responsibility for mistakenly informing restaurant owners that patio dining was currently allowed under Humboldt County’s current shelter-in-place order. “I was under the impression by miscommunication that it was OK to start outdoor dining,” said Slater, who owns Main Street Squeeze Juice and Smoothie. She said she’ll be sharing information about the county’s compliance signs with other businesses and that her own business has been providing only curbside service with call-in orders. “The whole purpose of my store is to make people healthy,” said Slater, “so I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that.”

The post on the Tuyas Facebook page announced, “It’s a beautiful day come enjoy a full dining experience on our outside tables at Tuyas.” It was a tempting idea but not yet allowed under Humboldt County’s current shelter-in-place order.
VIA FACEBOOK
  • Via Facebook
Over the phone, owner Glory Lagielski said she was told by the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce that she could use the pair of café tables outside her Mexican restaurant for dine-in service — plates, silverware and all — so long as they were placed 6 feet apart. It just wasn’t the case. (Attempts to contact the chamber have been unsuccessful.)

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