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Help 4-H students help the Food Bank 

An innovative program in coordination with the Mid-State Fair can sustain thousands of Central Coast families

click to enlarge SUSTENANCE :  Volunteer Christine Allen, Food Bank Executive Director Carl Hansen (left), and Food Bank Warehouse Manager Stan Schecter coordinate the distribution of high-protein meals thanks to donations arranged through 4-H. - PHOTO BY DEBBIE ALLEN
  • PHOTO BY DEBBIE ALLEN
  • SUSTENANCE : Volunteer Christine Allen, Food Bank Executive Director Carl Hansen (left), and Food Bank Warehouse Manager Stan Schecter coordinate the distribution of high-protein meals thanks to donations arranged through 4-H.
The Food Bank and students in 4-H have coalesced to provide protein-rich food to 30,000 disadvantaged people in San Luis Obispo County. Livestock raised by 4-H students for exhibition at the Mid-State Fair are being offered for sale to the public for donation to the Food Bank, which will process and package the meat for distribution to needy clients.

There are two ways to help the program. First, a donor can buy an animal outright at the fair auction and request that it be donated to the Food Bank. The Food Bank will pay the “cut and wrap” fee and the donor will gain a tax deduction for 100 percent of the purchase. Alternatively, donations can be made directly to the Food Bank to enable it to act as a buyer at the livestock auction. Donations should be dedicated to “fair animals.”

The 4-H and food banks in other counties have allied with far greater benefits to date. Fairs in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties donate approximately 40 percent of all the meat food banks in those counties distribute, but San Luis Obispo County pantries have so far received through the local fair only about one percent of the meat they have distributed. Why are San Luis Obispo County’s numbers so low? According to Christine Allen, an advocate of the project who has donated her animals three times, contributions have been relatively few because of a general, “lack of awareness that you can give meat to the Food Bank in this manner.” For more information about donating to the joint 4-H and Food Bank project, contact Christine Allen at 4christineallen@gmail.com or 543-8644.

Fast facts

Too often during bleak economic times, gardening, an activity that buoys the spirit, is sacrificed as a needless expense. What could be more therapeutic, more renewing at such low cost, than working the earth, raising flowers, gathering bouquets, and cultivating some small measure of serenity in the backyard? Neighborhood nurseries do keep hope alive, but locally they are threatened, even those that have served the community for decades, as the recent closure of Ron’s Nursery in Grover Beach sorrowfully illustrates. However, there is still a bright, joyful oasis of color in Shell Beach within view of the ocean, where seedlings are carefully tended, hanging baskets are artfully arranged, ornamental plants are lovingly nurtured, and pots and sturdy implements are thoughtfully selected and displayed—all a gentle reminder of how good life can be.  High Tide Nursery at 1999 Shell Beach Road encourages gardeners to set aside cares and be nourished again by the joys of the soil: There is a deep, storewide summer sale of plants under way and all pruners and gloves are reduced in price by half. The nursery is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more information call Joel and Nanci Stern at 773-3376 or see hightidenursery.com

Lucia Mar Adult Education offers vocational training, including a massage practitioner program (CAMTC approved), basic culinary classes, landscape design instruction, and many other career opportunities. To register see adulted.lmusd.org or sign up in person at 1425 19th Street in Oceano. LMUSD can be reached at 474-3982

San Luis Obispo County Literacy Council seeks volunteer reading tutors. Training will take place on Saturday, August 7 and Saturday August 14, at the Literacy Council’s office, 1264 Higuera Street, Suite 102, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information and to register, call 541-4219

Staff Writer Jack Johnson complied this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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