Brown Bag Program

line May 1_2014Grass roots food conservation at its very best, Grey Bears began connecting and sustaining seniors in 1973. Two UCSC students found their community garden grew far more tomatoes and zucchini than they could use, so they shared it with older neighbors living on fixed incomes who needed it. Over the next 43 years and 90 million pounds of food since, “seniors helping seniors” has grown into “seniors changing the world.”

The Brown Bag Program delivers shopping bags of fresh produce and healthy staples to a network of sites and to homebound seniors in Santa Cruz County each week. This year, Grey Bears will deliver 2.2 million pounds of food to 4,000 Santa Cruz County seniors. That equals two million meals.

IMG_1301Everyone is invited to become a supporting member of Grey Bears for just $30 a year. Those 55 years and older are eligible to receive a weekly bag of groceries. Click here to sign up now.

For the vast majority of the seniors we serve, the brown bag program stretches fixed income dollars, improves nutrition and provides an opportunity for involvement, activity, volunteerism and social connection. 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. Here’s the brown bag line in action!


thank you

"Thank you so much for your wonderful program. My mom, Nina, is 99 and will be 100 years old on March 11. She is thrilled to receive her brown bag each week.”
—Josh M, Aptos

"I am so grateful for the food in my weekly brown bag and my delivery driver, Paula, who I adore. I am disabled and my husband passed away four years ago. Grey Bears is a lifesaver.”
—Victoria, age 92 of Santa Cruz

"Thank you to Grey Bears for the amazing bag of groceries I just received. Thank you for all of the time, work and contributions it takes to make a brown bag."
—Toni P, Capitola

"We received our first delivery of wonderful produce today. It's been a difficult month for us and we can't tell you how much your fresh vegetables and fruit has helped out. Many thanks and all good wishes to your staff."
—Patrick P, Santa Cruz

"How very thoughtful of you to give your shut-ins a special holiday meal. And how very fortunate we were you selected Trader Joe's Turkey Pot Pies. They were delicious! Thank you!"
—anonymous, Scotts Valley

"Thank you for your contribution of the Grey Bears food items to the Mid-County Senior Center. They are enjoyed by all of the seniors who attend our activities. We certainly appreciate your support!"
—Donna F, Live Oak