Latest News

  • White House Conference on Aging

    ph-smiling-couple-320We’ll be live-streaming the White House Conference on Aging in the Grey Bears Classroom today, Monday, July 13 between 7:00am and 2:00pm. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade. Join us here, or watch from home by clicking here.

  • 2015 Brown Bag Program Survey

    bag line Nov_1_2013_woman_2We want to hear from you! If you receive a weekly bag of groceries from Grey Bears, please take a moment to complete a brief survey. Your feedback helps us improve while also providing needed information for our grant reporting. Click here for the survey. Thanks!

  • Grey Bears featured in Sentinel

    Living Green: Grey Bears changes lives, reduces waste
    by Kathryn McKenzie, (posted 5/28/15)

    I grew up in Santa Cruz, so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Grey Bears, a nonprofit that has been providing food for older residents since the 1970s, and using recycling programs to fund this vital mission… Read more>>>

  • Grey Bears featured in Monterey Herald

    Living Green: Benevolent recycling at Santa Cruz’s Grey Bears
    by Kathryn McKenzie

    I grew up in Santa Cruz, so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Grey Bears, a nonprofit that has been providing food for older residents since the 1970s, and using recycling programs to fund this vital mission… Read more>>>

  • Just a typical Thursday morning…

    Video: Grey Bears Brown Bag Program volunteers rock the line May 7, 2015!

  • Check out our May Newsletter

    IMG_5293Our May 2015 newsletter is out, featuring a preview of the Annual Membership Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on May 20, and other upcoming events and classes, volunteer spotlight with Alan Brady, Chair Yoga and Balance practice, a roasted potato wedge and avocado chimichurri recipe, Earth Day Every Day tips, and our new Grey Bears hats. Read more>>>

  • Chair Yoga and Balance

    Health and yoga are all about finding balance. Effort and rest. Elimination and assimilation. Yang and yin. Day and night. Finding balance leads to good health.

    tree_5_croppedIn yoga we practice movements and postures to improve balance, strength and attention. These skills help us improve our ways of standing, walking and in daily activities like reaching, bending or turning our heads to look in another direction with confidence.

    Balancing poses can instill a deep sense of calm even as they require unwavering alertness. These benefits might actually prolong our lives, helping us avoid falls that can lead to injuries especially as we age. One way to improve our strength is to stand on one foot. When we stand on one foot, one leg must do the work of two.

    Here’s how:
    Standing tall, hold the back of a sturdy chair or the wall with your left hand. Shift your weight onto the left foot and lift the right knee up high, flexing the right foot. If you feel confident, try extending your right arm straight up toward the sky. Hold for five breaths. Release your foot and arm and prepare for the other side.

  • Thrift Store 1/2-Off Sale

    thrift_2015_3This Saturday, May 9, 10am-3pm. We’re packed to the gills with new arrivals, estate items, furniture, art, housewares, clothing and accessories, computers, peripherals, electronics, TVs and audio-video, appliances, garden items, tumbled glass, medical equipment and more. Check out the expanded books and media center thousands of titles where books are just 50 cents each.

    New expanded thrift store donation hours, Mon-Sat 7:30-2pm. All store sales support the Brown Bag Program delivering 4,500 bags of healthy groceries to seniors each week.

  • Volunteer Spotlight – Alan Brady

    Alan_namaste_croppedAlan Brady, Age 62
    Born: 1/4/53 in Detroit MI. Left Motown at age 19 and moved to Sonoma County. I landed in Santa Cruz in 1983.
    Favorite color: Green

    Why Grey Bears: “About five years ago a friend invited me to Grey Bears and I found my service calling. I was amazed at the brown bag operation, to distribute so much food to seniors who need it. I’m in the warehouse five days a week, in quality control and the brown bag line. I also glean produce from fields and orchards, and help with security.”

    Career: “I’ve worked in construction for most of my adult life. In 2000 I fell off a scaffold and shattered my left knee. I didn’t want to make a fuss with my employer, and thought I’d tough it out till it heeled. I was frozen up in a wheelchair with terrible pain. Eventually I had two surgeries and lots of physical therapy. I worked hard to rehab it, became a gym rat and did lots of yoga. I still have some pain, but I find the harder I work and the better shape I’m in, the less pain I feel.”

    Alan_on_lineThoughts on service: “I have a deep affinity for the lessons of the Bhagavad Gita: work hard and perform good actions, and to offer these efforts to serve others without attachment or expectation. I see the brown bag line as a dance, it’s like choreographed movement, it’s my yoga.”

    Any lesson along the way?: “I left Grey Bears one day, fired up from the work. Pulling onto Soquel I cut off a car that happened to be a police officer. He pulled me over ready to write me a ticket. I apologized for driving aggressively, and said I had been volunteering at Grey Bears and was a little too fired up. The officer said that a close relative also volunteers at Grey Bears. He took mercy on me and let me off. Now I do some deep breathing at the wheel before leaving the campus.”

    Special projects?: “I’ve been involved in promoting industrial hemp in food applications for more than 20 years. I’m writing a book on personal uses of hemp, including using soaked, sprouted hemp seed for food. It’s abundant, easy to grow, an excellent protein, clears plaque from arteries and fortifies the immune system. In 1992, 13 police and feds kicked my door down to confiscate the seeds. I was prosecuted but won the case.”

    alan_brady_whalesClaim to fame: When I’m not working or volunteering at Grey Bears, you can find me paddling a kayak on the Bay. Local photographer, Paul Schraub, caught a photo of me on my kayak a few feet from two breaching whales. The photo went viral on social media and was covered by national news.

    Favorite food in brown bags: I love cabbage and carrots; they’re highly nutritious, inexpensive and have a long shelf life. I also really appreciate the lentils in the brown bags, and encourage everyone to try sprouting them.

  • Make Every Day Earth Day

    Grey Bears is your local nonprofit recycler with two drop-off centers. We’re also here to support you in living more sustainably all year long. Here are seven simple ways.

    1. In with the old, out with the new
    According to the EPA, since 1960 the amount of daily waste generated by a single person has nearly doubled from 2.7 to 4.6 pounds. In 2012, Americans recycled 34.5% of that waste, preventing the release of 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air—equivalent to taking 33 million GB_Bagcars off the road for a year. Reduce, reuse and recycle in that order. Keep everyday reusable items with you – shopping bags, coffee mug, water bottles, utensils etc. Buy used instead of new and stay up-to-date on what’s recyclable.

    2. Burn Calories, Not Fossil Fuels
    Use active modes of transportation like walking or biking where possible for neighborhood errands. Stay informed on the Rail Trail, and rather than driving use Santa Cruz Metro to get you where you need to go.

    IMG_0819 3. Reduce Water Use
    The Santa Cruz City Council has declared a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency.  All customers are urgently asked to make every effort to conserve water and abide by current regulations and restrictions. From collecting water from your sink and shower in buckets for your garden, to installing rain barrels or gray water systems, we can reduce our water footprint by another 25 percent.

    4. Eat Locally and Seasonally
    Use all of the food in your Grey Bears bag, shop at your local farmers’ market, and buy from grocers and bakers in your neighborhood who support local farmers, businesses and nonprofits. Eat leftovers.

    5. Take an Eco-Sabbath
    Energy use is the #1 cause of greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s expensive. The average American household spends more on home energy bills and gasoline for cars than health care or property taxes. Consider taking a home urban camping trip by turning off lights, televisions, computers, cell phones and other gadgets. It helps us discover and appreciate life’s bare necessities.

    IMG_12796. Compost
    Grey Bears can provide you with a supply of worms to get your started on home food scrap composting. Grey Bears vermiculture expert, Paul McGillicuddy, is on campus every Friday from 10-11am or email hidden; JavaScript is required for more information. Composting with worms helps improve improve soil nutrients and reduce climate change.

    7. Give Back
    By giving back, we slow down and appreciate what we have. Let’s challenge ourselves today to be more charitable in all ways.