Consider it Christmas in July. The Shasta Food Group’s 10th annual summer food drive is scheduled for this Thursday, July 15, throughout Shasta County.
The Christmas holidays are the biggest season for donations to virtually all charitable organizations, but, as Shasta Food Group’s Deborah Arias noted, people need to eat in July, whether or not more fortunate folks are giving.
You don’t need me to tell you that the hard times persist around here. The unemployment rate in Shasta County is 15.4 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department, and things are not any better in surrounding counties.
Arias summed up the state of affairs: “We are down 30 to 35 percent in donations, and we are up 30 to 60 percent in people looking for assistance, depending on the food pantry.”
On Thursday, food drive organizers will be accepting donations from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
– Mt. Shasta Mall in Redding
– Safeway in Anderson
– Wal-Mart in Anderson
– Sentry Market in Shasta Lake
You may donate between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at
– Safeway in Burney
– Ray’s Food Place in Fall River Mills
Organizers are always seeking commodities, such as bags of rice or beans, pasta, spaghetti sauce, whole grain cereal, canned vegetables and fruit, peanut butter and canned meat or fish. Please, Arias requested, don’t “donate” food that is past its expiration date, junk food such as chips, candy and sweetened cereal, or something that’s been gathering cobwebs in your pantry because it doesn’t sound appetizing.
If you are not able to get to one of the donation sites during this period, you may always drop off food at the Shasta Senior Nutrition Programs main facility on Mercy Oaks Drive, just off College View Drive next to Simpson University, or at your nearest food pantry. Through Shasta Food Group, nonprofit organizations, food banks, churches and government agencies share resources. If you’re not sure where to go, contact Arias at (530) 229-8481.
A few donations from the “plant-a-row” program are starting to come in, Arias said. Because of the wet spring, gardens are a little late this year. If your garden starts producing more zucchini, tomatoes, peppers or other items than you can use, consider hauling them to a food pantry. Everyone loves a homegrown tomato, right?
• Agricultural producers and water users who receive Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District water via a private, unlined earthen ditch may apply for a portion of $564,000 from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to replace the ditch with underground pipelines and concrete water control structures. The money may also be used for land leveling, pasture planting and irrigation water management projects. A public meeting to explain the program is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at the Western Shasta Resources Conservation District office, 6270 Parallel Road in Anderson. Funding applications are due to the NRCS office by July 23. For more information, contact NRCS at 226-2577.
• If you haven’t been out on the Whiskeytown trails this spring and summer, well … where ya been? Believe it or not, wildflowers are blooming clear into July, including a great collection of tiger lilies where the Kanaka Peak Loop Trail crosses Paige Boulder Creek. Plus, the short new trail linking Shasta Trinity Trail to Shasta Bally Road is now complete, so you can ride, hike or run a hilly but well-shaded loop from Sheep Camp. Some of these areas are closed for a few days during a forest thinning project, but the roads and trails should be open by this weekend.
• Speaking of Whiskeytown, I just got word that the Crystal Creek Falls area will be closed from Monday, July 19 until about October 1 while crews restore the site of a former rock quarry. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act project will return the barren quarry location to a more natural state. This area – which has a creekside picnic site and a trailhead for a rough track that connects to the Mill Creek Trail – is off Crystal Creek Road, on the way to the better-known James K. Carr Trail and Whiskeytown Falls.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and promises not to donate any canned peas. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.