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Friday Produce Pantry Serves Hundreds of Lake County Residents Each Week

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The mobile Friday Produce Pantry (FPP) provides food to Lake County communities during the first four Friday’s of each month, moving to two different locations each Friday and serving a total of 8 communities monthly. North Coast Opportunities Inc. (NCO), in partnership with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, established the program during the summer of 2016 to serve Valley Fire Survivors. The program continues to gain popularity and expand operations, now serving approximately 500 people each week.

Separate from the FPP, the Clearlake Food Pantry has been another popular staple for several years, serving residents on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. Due to the increased popularity of the FPP, the Clearlake Food Pantry is closing operations on April 26th.

“We’re closing the Clearlake Food Pantry for two reasons,” says NCO Executive Director Patty Bruder. “Since 2018, we have seen a 40% decrease at the Clearlake Food Pantry whereas the numbers at the FPP have increased tremendously. We are devoted to NCO’s ongoing mission of meeting the needs within our community and focusing our resources on making the greatest impact. In addition, our building located at 14832 Lakeshore Avenue has sold. We’re in the process of finding a new location to house all our Lake County NCO programs.”

Food is dispensed per household. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are available with a variety of goods from multiple suppliers like Amy’s Kitchen and Petaluma Poultry. Approximately 6-25 volunteers aid the distribution each Friday, many of which are also clients. The program is funded by NCO and the Redwood Empire Food Bank, who is the recipient of a Walmart Foundation Grant for Lake County. Clients are encouraged to arrive early and bring their own grocery bags, wagons and carts. Food is distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

 The first distribution each Friday is from 9:30am to 11:00 am with the second distribution from 1:00pm – 2:30pm. The location schedule is as follows:

First Friday each month: Distribution 1; Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge, Distribution 2; Upper Lake Park. Second Friday each month: Distribution 1; Lucerne Northshore Community Center, Distribution 2; Lakeport Fair Grounds. Third Friday each month: Distribution 1; Kelseyville Presbyterian Church. Distribution 2; Calvary Chapel of Clearlake. Fourth Friday each month: Distribution 1; Lower Lake Community Center, Distribution 2; Middletown Lions Club. There is no distribution if a fifth Friday exists.

“While NCO has not been able to secure a new building yet,” adds Bruder, “we continue our work with the City of Clearlake to secure a permanent location. We remain committed to continuing the Community Wellness programs that support Lake County. The Food Programs, the Gardens Project, and the Housing Programs have secured temporary spaces. Disaster Case Management, Rural Communities Childcare, and NCO Head Start programs are not impacted by this change.”

NCO is the Community Action Agency that serves Lake and Mendocino Counties, as well as parts of Humboldt, Sonoma, Del Norte, and Solano Counties. NCO has the mission of assisting low-income and disadvantaged people to become self-reliant, providing a safety net of emergency assistance, employment, and training services for individuals and families. This year NCO celebrates 50 years of community action.

For more information about the Friday Produce Pantry and for a detailed listing of all the distribution times and sites, please visit “Our Programs” at www.ncoinc.org. To volunteer or learn more contact Tammy Alakszay at 707-994-4647 or by email at talakszay@ncoinc.org.

Program(s) Involved: Lake County Food & Produce Pantries