Santa Paula Times

Unique SPHS Academy, Food Share on December GMSP! table

January 10, 2003
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesUnique Santa Paula High School programs and the county’s premier food bank were highlighted at the Chamber of Commerce sponsored Good Morning Santa Paula!December’s GMSP!, held at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport, was hosted by Onstot & Shuck, Attorneys at Law.Jill Gregory of the Health & Human Services Academy (H&HAS) said she has worn many hats during her 26-year SPHS career, and enjoys the programs offered through the academy.The academy starts in the freshman year with an introductory class and learning about careers as “police to lawyers to firemen. . .and anything to do with health and teaching also falls into that area.”The program’s progressive components include emphasizing college prep courses, connecting activities including job shadowing and internships; students are also encouraged to complete 60 hours of community service before entering the internship program.“There are 28 students out in the community every day, off-campus for 90 minutes,” working with professionals, said Gregory. “They learn more then than the two years they’ve been with me. . .it opens up their eyes to what is available in their own community and how to give back.”Students are required to keep a log and parent conferences are another academy component, as well as fulfilling the desire to “give the kids an idea of what they want to go into.”Gregory said that academy students could find a field to enter that makes it possible for them to “earn some decent money while they attend college.”
Food Share has grown, said Executive Director Jim Mingus, who noted many program volunteers were present at GMSP!“Food Share is people who band together everyday for people who need some help,” after the founders saw that area fields had 25 percent left after harvesting and connected the idea of gleaning to help those “families struggling to put food on the table.”Founded 25 years ago with seven volunteers, Food Share now has an annual budget of $1.2 million with the ability to distribute about $10 million worth of food to 30,000 people each month.“We have 16 trucks running around the county,” distributing food to numerous programs, including Santa Paula’s own CASP and Senior Nutrition Program, said Mingus.The original focus of Food Share was the homeless as well as those suffering economic disaster, but now the biggest growing need is the working poor.“There’s a huge need out there and at this time of year the need is more,” leading to a Holiday Challenge in partnership with Vons, said Mingus, who encouraged everyone to meet the challenge and support Food Share.