Greetings from Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center

On the corner of Walnut Avenue and Chestnut Street in downtown Santa Cruz, California, there stands an old blue Victorian house. Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center has called that house at 303 Walnut Avenue home since 1944. Many of the families participating in Walnut Avenue’s programs are from under-served populations due to poverty, early pregnancy, homelessness, and/or domestic violence.  

Here at Walnut Avenue, the Family Support Services (FSS) program provides support to their participants by managing their Food Bank. The goal of FSS is to ensure that everyone who enters their doors feels welcomed, respected, and cared for.  

One of Walnut Avenue’s participants shares, “My children and I have benefited from the supplemental food program greatly, allowing us to have healthy meals at home together.” Another states, “The food donations help me to save a little extra money for prescription co-payments and other things that I couldn’t normally afford, like movie tickets or a professional haircut.” The food Walnut Avenue provides to their participants has alleviated financial stress for them and their families. One notes that, “It is so helpful. I’m able to put the money I save towards my PG&E bill.” 

Rachel Willis, one of their many dedicated volunteers, arrives at Walnut Avenue bright and early every Thursday morning to make 25-30 supplemental food bags, which are passed out on Fridays.

Their Food Bank will soon include a fridge for fresh produce, made possible by Newman’s Own Foundation. The fresh produce is vital for the health of the families they serve, especially as the cost of living keeps rising.  

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