By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Senior Meals, CARE Center Fill Need
There's no question that times are tough everywhere ... and that could lead to an increase in the number of people coming to utilize the local food cupboard, the Escalon C.A.R.E. Center on Second Street.

Community Action Resources of Escalon is overseen by the Escalon Ministerial Association and is open Wednesdays for emergency food needs. One bag of food items is given to those families whose income meets the federal poverty level. Residents of Escalon and Farmington are eligible.

"We're doing okay right now," Escalon Ministerial Association President Mike Wilson said of the food cupboard, which currently has an adequate supply.

With school out for the summer, however, and more children at home that normally would have had access to a free or reduced school lunch, those numbers could pick up. Still, Wilson is confident the food cupboard will be able to meet the need. A recent postal carriers food drive, in fact, helped to bulk up the supply.

There are other programs in the area that assist as well, including the senior meals program that is offered twice a week at the Escalon Community Center. Seniors can eat there for a cost of just $2 for the hot, nutritious meal. No one is turned away if they can't pay.

"It's just a donation, depending on what they can afford," said Jan Shelton, one of the program coordinators.

A recent Thursday saw the seniors enjoying lunch and looking forward to Bingo, which is offered the first and third Thursdays.

"It varies," Shelton added of participation. "Thursdays is a higher count and now we're playing Bingo so it's picked up even more."

As much as the senior citizens enjoy the lunch, it is the camaraderie that is also a huge drawing card.

"I come regularly, every Thursday," said Myra Netoff. "I work at the animal shelter on Tuesdays so I can't be here Tuesday but I come here on Thursday and I like visiting with the ladies."

Donna Whitman also classified herself as a regular, making the trek across the street from Heritage House to enjoy the meal and some company.

"It's a nice place to come to," she said.

Shelton said they are always looking for volunteers to assist with the meal program, from helping serve to do some paperwork. Right now, they need some help in the clerical area.

Ms. Connie Bader came to Escalon by way of Canada and Huntington Beach.

"I was born in '33 in Canada," she said. "We landed in Escalon, had a dairy for a while."

She said the Tuesday and Thursday meals are good for her, helping her get out of the house.

"I like to visit," she said. "I'm very gabby. They call me 'Gabby'."

The senior meal program and C.A.R.E. are not connected, but both fill a vital need in the community. The C.A.R.E. Center does have a brown bag commodity program for senior citizens and also is the distribution point for the government surplus food, the commodities program, which runs every third Thursday of the month. The next distribution is June 18.

Wilson said use of the food bank is staying 'fairly steady' but officials will keep an eye on it and make sure there is enough supply if the demand increases this summer.