My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Community Bridges, Watsonville, CA, USA
This is one of the best sets of programs I know about. I worked for one of the Community Bridges programs for several years, first as a volunteer, and later as an employee--and would still be working there if cutbacks hadn't caused them to discontinue my job. The program I worked for was the Senior Lunch Program through Meals on Wheels. This provided free (by donation) lunch to seniors, including many homeless seniors, at a local community center. The lunch was nutricious and there was lots of variety and people usually really liked the food. Also, it provided community. Participants helped serve food, played musical instruments, and helped each other. For example, some of the people who had more money would hire a fellow lunch-goer who was homeless to do some painting or yardwork for them. I also am familiar with some of the other programs of Community Bridges, such as La Familia Center which provides transitional support to families who don't speak English and is a really friendly, nice community center across town. I give Community Bridges my highest rating.
Once I heard the director of Community Bridges tell a very touching story at a Volunteer Appreciation dinner. Santa Cruz had had a bad earthquake some years ago. Phone lines and electricity were out and many roads were closed so at first the director couldn't even get to his office. The director was very worried about elders who were 'shut in' and might be traumatized from the earthquake, so he wanted to round up some volunteers to go see if they were ok even if no meals could be delivered that day. He pulled up to his office at 5AM and was trying to figure out how he would find some volunteers, but much to his surprise a group of volunteers was already there. They had set up tables, lit by the lights of their cars, and were making sandwiches to take to the elders. He said that is the true spirit of Community Bridges, and I couldn't agree more.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Use real dishes at senior lunch programs, so as not to accrue the waste of paper and plastic. Also, I would provide organic fruits and vegetables in the lunches.
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