Grey Bears began connecting and sustaining seniors by starting the Brown Bag Program in 1973 – delivering fresh garden produce to about 100 members. 40 years and 80 million pounds of food later, “seniors helping seniors” has grown into “seniors changing the world.”
Volunteers glean the fields, assemble shopping bags of food in our warehouse and deliver them to a network of sites and to the doorsteps of homebound seniors throughout Santa Cruz County every week. This year, through our produce recovery program, Grey Bears will deliver 2.7 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food to 4,400 Santa Cruz County seniors.
Anyone of any age can become a supporting member for just $20 a year. Those 55 years and older are eligible to receive a weekly bag of groceries. There are no income requirements to join. Click here to fill out our online membership form.
For the majority of our members, the brown bag program stretches fixed income dollars and provides an opportunity for involvement, activity and social connection. Grey Bears creates an extended family-like environment that fosters a feeling of belonging, of being needed and contributing to a larger community. The improvement of self-confidence and self-worth are immeasurable by-products of our programs. Grey Bears benefits from an active volunteer base of 500 amazing people who donate 80,000 hours of service every year to make our programs work.
Check out the brown bag line on the first day of spring 2013.