Latest News

  • A letter from the Grey Bears Board

    Dear Grey Bears Members:

    After much analysis and discussion, the Grey Bears Board of Directors voted to increase membership rates. Our decision was based on the dramatic growth in our Brown Bag Program over the last 10 years, doubling from 2,200 to more than 4,500. Another factor was the ever rising cost of food collection, refrigeration and distribution. Grey Bears now delivers more than 40,000 pounds of food each week.

    The new membership rates effective January 1, 2015 are:

    1 year            $30
    2 years          $50
    3 years          $70
    Lifetime       $250

    We acknowledge that this may impose a hardship, especially for seniors living on fixed incomes. Those who renew their memberships before December 31, 2014 can still take advantage of the current rates. Grey Bears remains committed to sourcing and delivering the freshest produce and staples to you every week.

    On behalf of the board, staff, volunteers and our community partners, thank you for being part of Grey Bears. Please don’t hesitate to email hidden; JavaScript is required with any questions you may have.


    P_Plansky signature



    Paul Plansky
    Vice Chair
    on behalf of the Grey Bears Board of Directors

  • Burned down but fired up!

    Line6_thumbs upPlease support the Grey Bears Fire Recovery Fund by making a tax-deductible gift of any amount by December 31. Your support helps us continue to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors and our community. Thank you!

  • Check out our latest Newsletter

    Line6_thumbs upThe latest Nov-Dec 2014 Newsletter is hot off the presses, including volunteer lifetime award recipients, a visit to Grey Bears by residents of our Sister City in Japan, the 40th Annual Holiday Dinner on Dec. 7, an update on the recent fire, upcoming events and classes, a thrift store holiday bazaar on Dec 2, and more. Click here to read more.

  • Japan delegation visits Grey Bears

    Gb guy jokes with guests

    Grey Bears was delighted to be the first stop during a recent visit by an 11-member delegation from Santa Cruz Sister City, Shingu, Japan. Our guests arrived in time to see the brown bag line in full operation, with Shingu Mayor, Taoka Michitoshi joining in to help. Don and the composting crew received help turning the composting tubs. Another visitor was beaming after she found a beautiful purse in the thrift store.

    Japan meets JapanOne of our native Japanese line volunteers, Patrick caught up on the latest news with several of the tour members. Patrick volunteers with his daughter, Unhae, her husband Bob and frequently their daughter, Renata – three generations of service.

    Turn at the compost machine_cropped

    In part of his thank you letter after returning to Japan, group translator Taku Iwasawa wrote, “We know that those precious experiences the delegates were given must be kept as their life long memories and help to build their view of life and inspiring a vision toward a sustainable community of Shingu, as Santa Cruz has been keeping on to do.” It was truly a memorable morning.

  • Chair Yoga – Focus on the Feet

    happy feetChair Yoga with Suzi, Tuesdays and Fridays, 9:30am at Grey Bears. Our feet hold us up and ground us to the earth. The alignment of our feet and the distribution of weight through them affect the position, function and flow of energy through our knees, hips, back and shoulders. When our feet are tired our whole body is tired. Here are a few exercises and tips to re-energize your feet to keep them happy and healthy.

    1. Sit comfortably tall on a chair. Extend the right foot forward with knee bent slightly. Align the foot with your knee and hip. Flex your foot with toes pointing upward and back toward your right knee, toes spreading lightly. Then with alternating movement stretch all five toes to the floor, flexing and tapping for five to 10 times building up to 30 seconds per side. Lastly, rotate the ankle in circles five times in each directifoot flexion_extensionon. Change sides.
    2. Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water daily.
    3. Massage your feet by rolling them on a tennis ball, golf ball or wooden roller to release tension held in the feet.
    4. Elevate your feet. Place several pillows under your feet and ankles on a comfortable bed or on the floor. Lie back and relax. Take long full concious breaths.
    5. Walk barefoot more and wear supportive shoes with proper depth and stability.
    Now get out there and dance!

    Enjoy the benefits of Chair Yoga with Suzi, Tuesdays and Fridays, 9:30am at Grey Bears, $5 suggested donation.

  • Volunteer Lifetime Member Awards

    Three volunteers will be recognized at this year’s Holiday Dinner on December 7 for their many years of extraordinary service to Grey Bears.

    Nancy_Dushey2Nancy Dushey
    : May 18, 1945 in San Jose and grew up in the Santa Clara Valley.
    Family: Married 51 years, three children and five grandchildren (ages 7 to 27).
    Favorite hobby: gardening.
    Are you handy?: “I built our house with my father in Scotts Valley. I love physical activities.
    Work: While raising our kids I worked part-time for American Greetings setting up displays.
    On volunteering: I started volunteering at Grey Bears in 2000 and got to use my merchandising experience in the thrift store. After six years I moved over to the warehouse brown bag program in quality control. We process all of the produce and staples we receive and prepare them for bagging each week. I love being with people and I think Grey Bears is a terrific organization.
    Favorite produce item: I love artichokes, fruit and berries. Everything is seasonal, we’re getting lots of wonderful apples that have been going into the bags.

    Bob_Pat_VPat & Bob Vasconcellos

    Born: in Taunton, MA in 1946 and Santa Cruz in 1943 respectively.
    Married: “We met at Surf Bowl on separate league teams. It was love at first strike. We’ve been married 47 years.”
    Family: We have two sons and two grandchildren we adore, ages 13 and 10.”
    On volunteering: “Both of us volunteer in the thrift store. I love the challenge of repairing things. The fire was devastating. It destroyed all of my tools. We love Grey Bears and it means a lot that our efforts support the brown bag program.
    Favorite hobby: “Karaoke. We’re both pretty good singers. On a recent cruise we sang in front of 200 people and became karaoke celebrities.”
    Best thing about getting older: “We feel more freedom to be who we are, do what we want, when we want.”