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Announcements 2013

Community Gardeners Supplement Fresh Produce Distributions Local Food Grown for the Hungry

SANTA ROSA, CA. ~ Mervin, a volunteer with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, grew 3500 pounds

by Amy Schaner, Programs

Manager, REFB

of toma- toes for his community this year! A trans- plant from the state of Virginia,

Mervin now works with one of the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s Agency Partners, The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lake County, to distribute food boxes and pro- duce to vulnerable popula- tions in his neighborhood. The church allows folks who do community service a space to grow fruits, flowers, and veg- etables in their garden. The garden is on a bluff overlook- ing Clear Lake, where hun- dreds of migratory birds rest on the mirrored water.

Although located in the heart of Sonoma County, The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) also serves Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, and Del Norte Counties as part of the extended “Redwood Empire.” The REFB offers monthly distri- bution of Commodity Food

Supplemental Program boxes to seniors and children under 6 all over Lake County. Some of the participants in this pro- gram are homebound because of an illness or disability, so volunteers deliver the food to their homes. In fact, there was an aging cowboy, complete with silver belt buckle, boots, and a cowboy hat, come in to get his own food, and also pick up boxes for homebound seniors in his neighborhood. Because it was Election Day, the Redwood Empire Food Bank had to move its usual location into the Church’s thrift shop. There, low-income residents looking for food could also get free clothing. Mervin helped build the

church he now attends. He is in his 80’s, and wanted to impart some of his own histo- ry with food. As we were tour- ing his garden plot, Mervin told me of the old-fashioned refrigeration system his fam- ily used when he was growing up. They would store food in the basement because an underground creek would run through and cool the food. On hot days, they would hang a watermelon down the well by a rope to keep it cool! Mervin seemed pleased to be able to pass on some of his experi-

ence with food and gardening to me, and donate his crop to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

Mervin also gained a new

disciple. A young volunteer named David, who had walked two miles from his home to get to the distribution, decided to follow Mervin’s example and began packing paper bags, loading the food into participants’ cars. Probably in his 20’s, David came to help an elderly family member get her monthly box of produce. He said he felt great giving back his time to the food bank in exchange for the food his family received.

In addition to the boxes of food, the REFB distributes fresh produce. Because the Redwood Empire Food Bank cares about healthy lifestyles, about fifty percent of food it distributes is fresh fruits and vegetables. But without the help of people like Mervin who make local food a prior- ity and donate their valuable time at distribution sites, we would not be able to serve as many people as we do. If you want to find out more about ways to volunteer your time or resources to the Redwood Empire Food Bank, go to

Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow E B YEP! LOCAL HONEY

Call For Move In

Specials 8 Years of Service to Bees & Folks

Bees, Supplies, Classes, Support

921 Gravenstein Hwy. South Sebastopol (707) 824-2905

2 Locations!


The only thing that has to be finished by next Tuesday is next Monday. ~Jennifer Yane UPBEAT TIMES • March 2013 • 7

UPBEAT TIMES • March 2013 • 7 MARCH MADNESS AT SOCIAL SECURITY By Marv Mueller Social Security District Manager

SANTA ROSA, CA. ~ It’s that time of year! Basketball fans are gearing up for March Madness — a time when the final four teams in the NCAA fight for the title of national champion. While basketball fans are excited about March Madness, Social Security already has a winning “final four” of online services to cheer about: our new my Social Security service,

Retirement Estimator, online Benefit

Application, and online Extra Help application!

Let’s take a look at the lineup. 1. My Social Security is an online account that allows you quick access to your per- sonal Social Security infor- mation. During your work- ing years, once you create your online account, you can use my Social Security to obtain a copy of your Social Security Statement to check your earnings record and see estimates of the future retire- ment, disability, and survivor benefits you and your family may receive. If you already

receive Social Security ben- efits, you can now sign into your account to view, save, and print your benefit verifi- cation letter, check your ben- efit payment information, and even change your address and phone number in our records. You also can start or change your direct deposit informa- tion. Check it out at www.


2. The Retirement Estimator is an easy way to get an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security ben- efits. Just key in some basic information and the Estimator will use information on your Social Security record, along with what you input, to give you a benefit estimate on the spot. You even can experi- ment with different scenarios, such as changing your future earnings and retirement date. Check it out

in English at mator or in Spanish at www.

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