A woman named Nancy Costello realized one day that many families in the Salinas Valley— the very same people who grow and pick our region’s bountiful produce—were going hungry.
She also realized that grocery stores were throwing out food that had just passed its best-by date—but was still perfectly good.
So Nancy got to work. “Nancy’s Project,” as her nonprofit organization is now called, connects the unwanted food and the people who need it, feeding 2,000 local farmworker family members a week, 76% of them children!
It’s a simple program through which volunteers show up early at Trader Joe’s or Safeway to load a van with food that would otherwise go to a landfill. Six days a week, and 52 weeks a year, this food is delivered to local communities in need.
Nancy passed away a few years ago in her mid-nineties, but Nancy’s church, St. Dunstan’s in Carmel Valley—a midsized Episcopal church with an oversized heart and a gregarious, energetic and loving spirit—has played a leading role in keeping the program growing, making Nancy’s Project a focus of its outreach efforts.
Hunger takes many forms, so St. Dunstan’s offers the chance to make a difference through more than 20 outreach programs and other ministries in all, including an array of new programs for our own children; weekly overnight shelter and warm meals made from scratch for local homeless men and women; an important feeding program at St. Andre’s School in Hinche, Haiti, which St. Dunstan’s helped start 30 years ago and now educates 1,700 students a year; a soulful monthly alternative service called Common Thread; and spiritual nourishment with thoughtful sermons, loving community and inspiring music throughout the year.
The children’s programs are a particular focus of the church right now and begin at the infant and toddler level with the Light and Love program. Godly Play is offered for kids 5–9 and re:form, Youth in Action and an acolyte program for tweens and teens. Efforts are also underway to form a children’s choir and we organize special children’s and family events such as camping trips and seasonal and holiday celebrations throughout the year.
If you have a hunger for making the world a brighter, more loving place, and are seeking a community in which you can have fun meeting like-minded people, doing good, living your values and nurturing your spirituality, St. Dunstan’s would be a great place for you. All are welcome.
To learn more, go to www.saintdunstanschurch.org.