Meals on Wheels Yolo County has announced that the Yolo Cannabis Coalition has donated $10,000 for the Weekend Food Project, which will entirely fund the current program for one year.
The Weekend Food Project was designed in 2015 to provide extra help and relief to extremely low-income homebound seniors already served by the daily meal program. The last Friday of each month, Meals on Wheels Yolo County provides a bag of groceries to give seniors options for preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner over the last weekend of the month.
Food insecurity in Yolo County has been well documented. A survey conducted by Feeding America in 2014 indicates that one in six Yolo County residents struggle to put food on the table. Food insecurity results from low income and minimal access to healthy food; these factors are compounded by the additional difficulties seniors face such as inability to drive, difficulty standing to prepare meals and lack of energy.
Meals on Wheels Yolo County Executive Director, Christi Skibbins said, “Over the past 10 years, government contributions to programs like ours have been steadily reduced, at the same time that the Silver Tsunami — the huge flood of Baby Boomers — are entering their 60s and 70s, with many of them needing our services.
“At this time, there is a waiting list of 82 seniors for the daily lunch program, and we have three federal government grants that are in jeopardy of being cut. We have a diverse revenue stream already, and continue to explore new avenues to fund the need in Yolo County.
“With the new opportunity of the legal cannabis industry in our state, this group of community-minded business people can join the businesses, organizations and private citizens who already donate their time, expertise and money to Meals on Wheels Yolo County. We are very excited, pleased and grateful for this gift and commitment on the part of the Yolo Cannabis Coalition.”
The Yolo Cannabis Coalition is a non-profit California corporation whose purpose is to benefit the common interests of their membership, promote community cannabis development and strengthen their community in Yolo County. The YCC is a new organization, consisting of about 40 members; growers, nurseries and community members. Their goal is to promote safe commercial cannabis development that benefits the entire community.
Yolo Cannabis Coalition President Eric Gudz said, “Back in March, when we first heard in the news that certain federal funding to Meals on Wheels programs might be cut, we were in the process of forming the coalition, and it just seemed a natural endeavor that, together, our members could really make a difference in our own community. We have been working with Christi on this project since our first meeting in early April, and are so pleased to make this donation in order to help her provide what our Yolo County elderly citizens really depend on.”
Meals on Wheels Yolo County provides 350 hot meals every weekday to the elderly through two primary programs: Congregate Meals and Home Delivered Meals. All food is prepared from scratch at the central kitchen in Woodland, and delivered to nutrition sites at senior centers in Davis, West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland; also to rural areas such as Esparto and Knights Landing.
Regarding the Weekend Food Project, Skibbins, said, “Approximately 72 percent of the seniors we serve in our daily meal program are low income and 25 percent of those are extremely low income. Because their Social Security check or pensions are deposited around the first of each month, the last weekend of each month can be an extremely lean time. Many of these seniors must make difficult financial decisions at the end of the month: whether to buy food or medicine or whether to use the air conditioner and risk a utility bill they cannot afford. There is simply more month left than money. This program bridges a gap for our most needy folks.”