Westwood addresses food insecurity in many ways
“If critical the situation will be evaluated and additional food may be given depending on the circumstances,” she added.
The amount of food is based on the number of people in the family and the type of appliances available to prepare meals. Also the items given depend on what’s on the shelves so families may not get the same supplies each time they apply however a pound of fresh meat is included. Krier said its best if people call the center at 256-3706 so a box can be assembled in advance of pickup.
Also the Westwood Resource Center hosts community dinners at the Fletcher Walker Elementary School cafeteria every other month. Posters are placed around town to alert residents and flyers are sent home with school children, said Krier.
Families in need throughout the Lake Almanor Region and Greenville are given the ingredients for a complete Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner during the holiday season by The Chimney Fund, a non-profit organization based in Westwood. Application forms are distributed Nov. 1 at the Westwood Pharmacy, Village Pharmacy in Greenwood and ABC Center in Chester. Each year The Chimney Fund distributes 100 Thanksgiving dinner boxes and 125 Christmas dinner boxes.
In addition The Chimney Fund gives out $25 food vouchers to Young’s Market in Westwood for families experiencing an emergency food shortage. To obtain a voucher the family should contact Willa Handzel, president of The Chimney Fund and owner of Chuck’s Railroad Room in Westwood. The request can be made once every six months and vouchers must be spent in one shopping trip for nutritional food items, said Handzel.
A food pantry at the Westwood Assembly of God church is filled with items donated by the congregation. People with an emergency need can obtain a three-day supply of food. Requests can be made once a month for three months in a 12 month period, said Alvera Young, who oversees the pantry. If food is requested more than three times during the year people are asked to take part in a counseling program that helps them learn to budget for food.
Provisions are based on the number of members in a family and includes a meat voucher from Young’s Market when available. To meet the nutritional needs of children special purchases of fresh items are sometimes made as well. To request help call Young at 256-3164.
Calvary Chapel Westwood also provides food to needy families on an emergency basis. Families receive a two to three day food supply and items are based on what has been donated to the food closet by those who attend the church and others. People in need can request help once per month but should call in advance with the number of people in their family so a box can be assembled. The telephone number is 256-3309 and if no one is in the office they should leave a message with contact information, said Pastor Terry Johnson.
Each morning children are provided breakfast at Fletcher Walker Elementary School through the Breakfast for Kids Program. Cereal and fruit is purchased with money donated by community members and organizations. The breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. weekdays by volunteers that include retired teachers, teachers, school staff and community members. Once a month the Westwood/Lake Almanor Rotary fixes a hot breakfast for the children, such as pancakes or biscuits and gravy. During summer school volunteers from Calvary Chapel Westwood oversee the Breakfast for Kids Program.
Lassen Senior Services provides hot lunches during the week for senior citizens at its Westwood branch located at the Senior Citizens Center on Birch Street. People age 60 and above are served a meal at noon for $2.50 however no one is turned away because they cannot afford to pay, said Olivia Berg, site manager and cook. Seniors who cannot afford full price can contribute whatever amount they can afford.
Seniors who want to participate in the lunch program are asked to call a day in advance to make a reservation-256-3009. When they arrive they sign in and drop their money in a locked box. If transportation is a problem van service is available for a 25 cent fee each way.
Homebound seniors can fill out a confidential application for Meals on Wheels and if they qualify a hot lunch will be delivered to their home weekdays.
In addition to local efforts the federal government WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program is available in Westwood. Those eligible to participate will find program representatives at the Westwood Community Center the second Tuesday of every month from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 257-7094.
USDA food commodities are distributed at the Senior Center in Westwood. For dates and times contact the center at 256-3009.
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