Spring finally came to Eastern Washington this month. Sure, March 20 was the official start of the season, but it was the 60 degree days, warm sunshine and melting snow that brought people out onto our region’s trails and parks and into their gardens.
Spring Fever is also infecting Catholic Charities’ Food For All program. Spring means community gardens. It means fresh produce. Above all, it kicks off the farmers market season and all the programming Food For All does to help them serve everyone in our community.
Spring Means Farmers Markets
Food For All is especially excited to support the brand new Spokane Valley Farmers Market. The market, which will open June 7, will be located by the CenterPlace regional event center in the Valley. Food For All’s Regional Lead program will help the farmers market accept SNAP/EBT benefits so people with low incomes can shop for local and nutritious food.
The Valley Farmers Market will also feature the KERNEL program (Kids Eating Right Nutrition and Exercise for Life). Through KERNEL, kids can participate in educational activities to earn $2 vouchers to buy produce or plant starts. To learn more about KERNEL, check out last fall’s feature article from the Diocese of Spokane’s magazine Inland Catholic.
But Food For All is not just a fair-weather program. Throughout the year, Food For All operates educational and outreach programs that bring fresh produce and cooking skills to students and senior citizens throughout our region. For example, the Welcoming Table hosts cooking demonstrations and community dinners for residents of Catholic Housing Communities. Catholic Housing Communities also receive deliveries of local and fresh fruits and vegetables through our Produce Delivery program.
Food For All Thanks our Catholic Schools
And through Catholic Schools Week, the Diocese of Spokane is also a big supporter of Food For All. At Cataldo School, a sixth grade class gathered 56 containers of spices for Food For All’s Spice Drive! Each class does a service project during Catholic Schools Week, and this is the second year that the sixth grade class has chosen to collect for the Spice Drive.
At the beginning of the month, Jesuit volunteer Patrick Shuerger visited the class to thank them for their donation and talk to them about about Food For All's mission. The spices collected are used in the Welcoming Table and distributed to Catholic Housing Communities. The lesson ended with a nutrition component. Patrick served the students healthy chocolate coconut/raisin spice no-bake cookies, a popular dessert served at our Welcoming Table community meals.
Catholic Charities is grateful to the Diocese of Spokane, Cataldo School and the season of spring for their support of our Food For All program!