This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Week by highlighting the volunteers and partners who are a vital part to the success of UCCE programs. On February 24, 2020 UCCE San Bernardino hosted an appreciation dinner to recognize the invaluable volunteers and partners.
The celebration started with a welcome by County Directors Janet Hartin and Chris McDonald followed by dinner and finally the recognition. Honorees received a certificate of appreciation from UCCE and Board of Supervisor Chairman Curt Hagman. Seven San Bernardino County departments were recognized for their valuable partnerships needed to implement programs. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program recognized teachers, school administrators, and parent liaisons who are key in reaching families to provide them with education to live healthier lives. The Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver Programs recognized their indispensable volunteers who are the heartbeat of the program and provide outreach to the community. 4-H recognized leaders who are empowering today's youth to be leaders of tomorrow. To top off the dinner, the Master Gardener Coordinator, Maggie O'Neill, made a delicious cake decorated to represent all programs.
Parents at Davidson and Anton Elementary in the San Bernardino Unified School District, were invited to participate in a series of workshops provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver (MFP) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs (EFNEP). The first EFNEP series included 9 lessons from the Eating Smart Being Active curriculum. The focus was eating well and living a healthier life style. Each week parents learned about a new topic such as My Healthy Plate, whole grains, meal planning, saving money, and food safety. Parents also participated in 15 minutes of physical activity through walking indoors videos. During the workshops, parents tasted new recipes as well as set goals and received lesson enhancements to encourage behavior change. At the end of the series, parents who attended at least 7 lessons received a certificate of graduation.
The EFNEP workshops were followed by the MFP jam making class. Parents made mixed berry freezer jam. Food safety measures learned during the EFNEP workshops, were reinforced by emphasizing the importance of hand washing, using a clean surface and storing at the proper temperature. Parents learned they can store their jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for 12 months. Tips on stretching your food dollar were also reinforced by sharing various types of fruit that can be used for jam. This is a great way to save money by buying seasonal or frozen fruit, using fruit from a home garden, reusing containers found at home, sharing with friends and giving jam as gifts. Everyone had smiles on their faces while making and tasting their jam!
San Bernardino County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program promoted Healthy Snack Day throughout the county on September 12th. Parents at Bloomington Head Start sampled Overnight Oats from the new 2020 Healthy and Homemade Nutrition and Fitness Calendar and took home the calendar which provides new recipes each month. EFNEP educators hosted an office taste test of the Overnight Oats. Educators prepared all three versions including Pumpkin, Peanut Butter topped with bananas, and Yogurt topped with frozen berries. The Peanut Butter and Yogurt were the favorites! First grade students at Lincoln Elementary learned how to keep their bodies healthy and enjoyed an afternoon snack of trail mix. Healthy snacks are a great way to keep your mind and body fueled during a busy day.
The Riverside and San Bernardino county Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program team hosted a celebration lunch for the 50th anniversary of EFNEP. The team was joined by San Bernardino County Master Food Preserver, Dee Denton and Master Gardener, Maggie O'Neill; in addition three EFNEP retirees attend. Connie Lexion, formally Garret, was an NFCS Advisor from 1970 to 2006; she still keeps in touch with many former team members and gave an update on those she met with at a luncheon in April. Connie Costello started with UC in 1981 and was apart of EFNEP and UC CalFresh from 2012 to 2017. Debbie Lopez was a part of EFNEP for 15 years working with the youth program and 4H from 1971 to 1986. The group shared stories and talked about how the program has changed over the years.
EFNEP started in 1969 with the goal of addressing concerns on nutrition and physical activity behaviors of low-income families, focusing on families with young children. It as since grown to reach 200,000 adults and 450,000 youth in every state, US territory and the district of Columbia.
To hear more stories about EFNEP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un8EZggIYrE
The National School Lunch Program provides nutritionally balanced free and reduced price lunches to children of low income families in need. The summer time can be difficult for those families as children are not provided a healthy meal when school is out. The summer meal program helps to alleviate the stress of feeding children during the summer break.
Hesperia Unified School District is one of many districts in San Bernardino county that provides meals during the summer. The district Food and Nutrition Services started the summer with an exciting kick off lunch at Topaz Elementary, one of the meal sites. Over 300 children were served a nutritious meal and were provided enrichment activities for the whole family to enjoy.
All four UCCE programs were represented at the kick off providing information and activities for families. EFNEP distributed recipe cards, cutting boards and calendars for parents and signed parents up for the UCCE Connects to You distance learning pilot program. Children were given gardening gloves from the Happy Healthy Me curriculum to start growing vegetables at home. Master Gardeners had a small space herb garden and vermicomposting demonstration as well as promoted the MG hotline and volunteer program. 4-H brought a live rabbit for children to pet, the living desert sensory station and the signs of animals present in the forest. Master Food Preservers promoted their public classes and had a tropical freezer jam tasting, it was a hit!