Communities of Excellence Event Set For July 11
By Dianne Anderson
For low-income families of the Muscoy area of San Bernardino, some of the biggest barriers are not so much that the resources aren’t available, but rather no one knows where to find them.
On Wednesday, July 11, the community won’t have to look far to find out where to get all the goods, free weatherization, free housing services, free healthy hookups, and free food. The Communities of Excellence event will be held from 9a.m. to 12 p.m. at 2972 California Street.
Pastor Paul Jones said there are numerous challenges in his neighborhood, but information about housing, jobs, and health are still the biggest disconnect for the community. Probably the most common excuse he hears is that they don’t know what exists.
“I’m like, good gracious, where you been? We try to help them out as much as we can. There are resources,” said Pastor Jones at Church of God In Christ Zion Elect New Generation Ministry.
At the upcoming event, a consultant from Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County will talk about free weatherization services for both homeowners and renters, including checkups to make sure water heaters aren’t leaking. They even have free toilets.
In the face of all the technology these days, some people may have computers, but many are not online. One 81-year-old lady approached him recently saying she wanted information but didn’t have a computer. Next up, he is looking into bringing computer classes to seniors, so they can learn and access available free services.
“Those are the kind of things we’re bringing to Muscoy so they’re educated in other county programs besides the food program or clothing. We have things going on that can help them in their everyday life,” he said.
Jones feeds about 1,000 people each month through his Feed My Sheep program in partnership with CAP County Food Bank. He said they will soon be offering a nutrition and exercise program at the church location. IEHP, another partner in the event, will be giving away sunglasses, sunscreen and provide mini-backpacks for the kids.
Over the past year, he has brought a jobs resource center and after school learning center on site. The new Nautiqua Clothes Closet has some good stuff, some of it is new-ish.
“It just opened up last month, we’re working on building that up. We do have a small minimum fee $1-2 to help us keep the lights on,” he said.
His program will host a regular aerobics class, with a nutritionist coming in twice a month to help the community with their diets.
“She’s going to give a talk twice a month to talk about nutrition. Our church members that are diabetic are really interested in that. That’s going to help a lot,” he said.
But Sonia Vega knows that one way to get people running – usually in the other direction – is to just mention the D word, Diet.
But she said healthy living is more than diet, it’s a way of life. She is excited about the launch of their new community outreach for exercise and teaching local families how to eat to live. In partnership with the church, she is calling on Muscoy parents to get involved, and learn how to start growing their own foods.
“I teach them how to breathe, how to exhale, we do the poses, and nutrition, and people get excited,” said Vega, a health educator with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health-Nutrition Program.
Through the Community of Excellence project, she said the neighborhood can access food, fruits and vegetables, including adjacent services they may not know about. In the coming weeks, she will be getting ready Zumba and aerobics classes in their air-conditioned modular. They have a certified teacher ready to go.
Already, they have a group of ladies on board with their walking club, two are moms with babies in strollers.
She believes that most moms, when they understand the importance of nutrition and reading the labels, want the best for their children and families.
“We’re going to show you the right tools to help your family stay healthier, not just for now, but for a long time. Let me give you the tools to cook better, feel better and look better for the future.”
For more information, contact Ms. Vega at 909.388.5653