Read about Pajaro Valley Shelter Services‘ Healthy Living series in this article from the Spring Newsletter 2014!

“Healthy Food Choices Being Taught to Residents

Pajaro Valley Shelter Services has been assisting homeless families for 30 years, providing temporary housing, case management support services and workshops/training on subjects that help families, the majority of whom are Latino, deal with the issues and overcome the obstacles that led them into homelessness. Sometimes those obstacles have included gross health problems that wiped them out financially or contributed to loss of income. It is known that Latino families have a higher occurrence of obesity and diabetes. PVSS staff also recognized that stress, poverty and lack of knowledge further contribute to obesity and unhealthy food choices. In 2011, the Shelter Services began a Healthy Living series of workshops for the homeless families that reside in both its emergency shelter program and transitional housing program. Participation by residents in these workshops is mandatory.

Pajaro Valley Shelter Services collaborates with the Second Harvest Food Bank Santa CruzFood & Nutrition ServicesDriscoll’sSunRidge Farms, and Live Earth Farm to provide these workshops. Each five-week series of workshops comprises interactive information on healthy eating, healthy food preparation, exercise, how and where to shop affordably, and where our food comes from. Part of the workshop activities includes having the children participate at home in food preparation so that they start the habit of healthy eating at a young age. About 200 people benefit from these workshops every year. This series of workshops has been very successful for families and PVSS receives a lot of positive feedback from residents about losing weight, feeling better, saving money, drinking more water and drinking less sugary products, etc. In support of these workshops, the Shelter Services also provides healthy and nutritious foods to families living in the emergency shelter.”