Tag Archives: food

Free food every Friday on Anna St.

Volunteers pass out fresh produce on a sunny December day Photo courtesy of Lori Aldrete/First 5 Yolo & Yolo County Children’s Alliance


The Yolo County Children’s Alliance and First 5 Yolo remind you that fresh fruits and vegetables are given away at 10 a.m. every Friday at the Alyce Norman Elementary School site of the Alliance’s offices.

The program receives $15,000 per year from First 5 Yolo (chartered with using tobacco tax money to serve children up to age five) as well as donations from Kaiser Permanente and others.

“The produce distribution has been a great success,” said Katie Villegas, executive director of the Alliance, in a press statement. “Families are coming on a regular basis and are benefiting from healthy food.”

  Volunteers help pass out the goodies in this two-year old program.

To donate or to help as a volunteer, call the Yolo County Children’s Alliance at 1-866-607-4030, or visit the Alliance’s offices at 1200 Anna Street, Room 21, West Sacramento, or at 600 A Street, Suite Y, in Davis.

To become eligible to pick up food, residents must demonstrate eligibility, have kids 18 or younger at home, and prove they live in West Sacramento.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Japanese plant breaks ground in Southport

Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa (left) accepts a gift from Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. (News-Ledger photo)


NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 15, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A groundbreaking in Southport on Thursday, Feb. 9, took on a notably Japanese flair.

Company officials from Nippon Shokken – a firm that produces Japanese seasonings and food products – joined local officials in a ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of a new, 70,000-square foot factory at 2970 Ramco Street in the Southport Business Park.

Local dignitaries gathered in a tent at the spot. The festivities included an exchange of gifts between Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and company chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa, amid bows and smiles. Ozawa presented the mayor with several gifts, including a set of porcelain figures, and Cabaldon responded with presentation of a painting of the iconic Tower Bridge.

Nippon Shokken reps joined local officials including Mayor Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan (center and center-right, respectively) in shoveling sand to launch the construction project. (News-Ledger photo)

The mayor’s remarks – translated into Japanese for guests – included a compliment to the company and its products.

“I had the opportunity to be in Japan in December, and had the chance not only to try many of the Nippon Shokken products,” said Cabaldon, “but also to speak with local leaders and those in the country. I was not surprised to learn in Japan the deep honor and respect the leaders of Nippon Shokken hold with the people in Japan.”

One of three gifts presented to the Mayor of West Sacramento by Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa. The gifts may later go on display at city hall, said a City of West Sacramento official. (News-Ledger photo)

Cabaldon also put in an endorsement for the flavor of the company’s products.

Through a translator, Chairman Ozawa said that one of the reasons his company chose the Southport site was a “bounty of quality water, which is essential for production of seasonings, and to have the utmost land of well-built infrastructure.”

  The new factory will help the company expand its U.S. presence. It expects to open in March, 2013, with a hundred employees and a production capacity of 2,400 tons per year – expanding to 300 workers by 2015.

“One of my favorite actions of Nippon Shokken was to identify two of our West Sacramento high school students who speak Japanese fluently,” said Cabaldon. The company then hired these two –  and plan to train them in Japan to return and serve in management positions at the new West Sacramento plant.

Artist’s rendering of future Nippon Shokken plant in West Sacramento

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012


Food bank distributes free food today


The Food Bank of Yolo County will distribute free food in West Sacramento and Clarksburg on Feb. 21.

The schedule will be:

Starting at 9-10 a.m. at the county building, 500 Jefferson Blvd.; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd.; 11-noon at Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr.; and noon to 1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse. Please bring a bag, and attend only one site.

For info, call (530) 668-0690.

Japanese factory breaks ground in Southport


A Japanese food plant breaks ground in Southport on Thursday.

Nippon Shokken is the “top producer of Japanese blend seasonings in the world,” according to a City of West Sacramento press release. Construction is expected to finish next January.
The company makes seasonings, sauces and tempura mix.

The plant would be its first manufacturing facility in the U.S. The company has bought 10 acres at 2970 Ramco Street for the 70,000-square foot plant, which it plans to open next year.

The factory is expected to produce 2,400 tons of product annually to begin with, and up to 5,000 tons per year maximum. It has been projected to employ over 100 people in the $16 million plant, according to reports from announcements made a year ago, when the site was selected.

The Japanese firm also expects to move its U.S.A. headquarters from Torrance to West Sacramento.

Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa is expected to attend a ground-breaking at 10 a.m. on Feb. 9,  joined by Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Food bank to distribute free food


The Food Bank of Yolo County will give away food to eligible West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

The schedule will be: 9-10 a.m. at the county building, 500 Jefferson Blvd. in West Sacramento; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd., West Sacramento; 11-noon at the Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr., West Sacramento; and noon-1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse in Clarksburg.

Please bring a bag and attend only one site.

For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Need a little help? Try ‘Giveaway Day’

  The Yolo County Children’s Alliance will bring back the annual “Community Giveaway Day” on Sat., Nov. 18, from 8 a.m. “until supplies last” at Westfield Village Elementary School, 508 Poplar Avenue.

West Sacramento residents are invited to show up and receive some free household goods, clothes, food, toys and more (bring proof of address such as driver’s license or utility receipt). Co-sponsored by the school, St. Joseph’s Mobile Mall and the West Sacramento Grocery Outlet. For more info or to donate (food, gift certificates, merchandise or money), call 1-866-607-4030.

From the NEWS-LEDGER — Copyright News-Ledger 2011

Site at Alyce Norman school offers help, services

The weekly Friday food giveaway next to Portable 21 at the Alyce Norman Elementary School, 1200 Anna Street (News-Ledger photo)


JUNE 1, 2011

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

If you live in West Sacramento and you need a little help of some kind, this is a pretty good place to start.

We’re talking about “portable building number 21” at the back of the campus at Alyce Norman Elementary School, 1200 Anna Street. That’s where the Yolo County Children’s Alliance has set up its West Sacramento field headquarters. The group uses paid staff, volunteers and various community partners to dish out a bunch of services and referrals. The offerings range from free food, to parenting classes, to tax preparation, and to low-cost health insurance referrals.

The array of services is so diverse even Katie Villegas, executive director of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance, admits it can get confusing.

“We can sign people up for any help they need – if they walk into our office, we can get them set up,” she said. “Since 2006, we’ve done enrollment for health insurance programs. Now, we’re doing health insurance plus 16 other programs.”

Lydia Carrillo, representing the Health Education Council, passes out samples of granola during the Friday food giveaway (News-Ledger photo)

Signing families up for free or low-cost children’s health care has been a big priority for the Alliance. Other programs provide help to mothers, infants and pregnant moms, or help subsidize utility bills for low-income people, or help people get food stamps.

“West Sacramento has a lot of people who qualify for food stamps but don’t know it,” said Villegas. “We fill out the application and walk it over to the (Yolo County) Department of Social Services, and they waive the normal face-to-face interview. That cuts the wait time from 45 days to five days.”

Help is available in English, as well as Spanish and (sometimes) Russian.

When the News-Ledger paid a visit to the site a month ago, volunteers were helping to unload produce outside for free distribution, thanks to a special arrangement with the Yolo County Food Bank.

“That’s about 2,300 pounds of food,” said Villegas. “This happens every Friday, rain or shine – but if the school is closed, like at Christmas, then we’re closed. We use volunteers, especially for the food distribution every Friday – a lot of the clients will actually jump in and volunteer to help. About 150 families get ten pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each.”

The Alliance has also started an annual “Community Giveaway Day,” inviting community members to donate clothes, household goods and whatever other still-useful items they may have. The goods are then passed out free to those in need.

“That happens the Saturday before Thanksgiving,” said Villegas. “We take donations all year around. Especially blankets, clothes and shoes – they go really fast. People can drop off things Monday through Friday, from 8 to 5.”

Staffers Miguel Perez, Claudia Gonzalez, Katie Villegas (the executive director) and Sandra Maldonado at their Yolo County Children's Alliance site in West Sacramento (News-Ledger photo)

Newer this year is a program designed to help low-income people fill out their tax returns – and hopefully, get back a refund by claiming an earned income tax credit.

“Families making below $50,000 can get free tax help,” Villegas stated. “All our volunteers are trained by the I.R.S. This year, we helped 90 families, and they got around $200,000 in tax refunds. It was a huge success. The average refund per family is about $1,300. Those refunds went right into the local economy. A local stimulus package!”

Next door to the Alliance’s office is a “mommy-baby clothes closet,” created with help from the local Soroptimist chapter.

“We have strollers, clothes and baby items” for new parents, Villegas said. Also offered are child abuse prevention programs, helping to educate expectant parents.

Nearby in the portable building is an office of the Yolo Family Services Agency.

“They opened a counseling office next to the clothes closet. It’s a huge deal that they are here, providing all kinds of services. They offer one-on-one mental health counseling and crisis intervention, and there is nothing else like it in West Sacramento.”

The counseling services are covered by insurance programs including MediCal, and are also available on a sliding fee scale.

Villegas is also excited about an independent – and cheap – source of groceries that’s available to anyone, at www.thetreasurebox.org. She’s promoting it to anyone who needs help making ends meet.

“Basically, you pay $32 for a box of food that could feed a family lunch or dinner for a week, or a single person for a month – it’s $100 worth of food for $32. It includes anything from chicken and cereal to pies. Anybody can take advantage of it – people buy it for their kids, college kids use it, people give it as gifts. You sign up before the 15th of the month using a debit or credit card or food stamps. You pick it up on a Saturday.”

She’s also passionate about her agency’s role in finding homes for local foster children.

“There were a ton of foster kids coming from West Sacramento, and no parents to take them,” recalled Villegas. “That has changed. A lot of people from Davis and Esparto and so forth stepped up to help keep kids local. It’s really important to keep kids local, close to their environment. It also costs four times more to place a kid out of town.”

'Cubbies' full of organized clothing at the "Mommy-Baby Clothes Closet" on the Alyce Norman school site in West Sacramento's Elkhorn Village area. (News-Ledger photo)

  The Yolo County Children’s Alliance is a county-chartered group with 17 board members. Funding comes “a little bit here and a little bit there,” said Villegas. Some of it comes from the “First 5 Yolo” organization – the local branch of a statewide program that uses tobacco taxes for services that benefit children under age five.

“First 5, Yolo County and Kaiser are our top three supporters.”

Private partners include the Grocery Outlet’s owners:

“Eric and Shannon Flick are constant partners with us – we just had our (fundraising) ‘fun run,’ and they provided all the water and veggies.”

State budget cuts and other financial troubles are putting a dent in the Alliance’s resources, but the group will weather the storm, said Villegas.

“We’re going to lose some employees – one is going off to medical school, and another to graduate school, so we’ll cut staff through attrition. The work is not going away. We’re seeing a huge increase in families in need, and we have to do more with less. This next six to 12 months, we’ll have to be particularly creative.”

Soon, the group hopes to open a new thrift store to raise some money – outfitting it with donated labor from the Northern California Construction Training school.

If Villegas’s name sounds familiar, it may be because she’s married to West Sacramento city council member Oscar Villegas. Their family lives in Southport.

The “take-home message” from Katie Villegas?

It’s that if there’s something you need help with, the Alliance is a pretty good place to start looking. Look for the Yolo County Children’s Alliance on Facebook, visit www.yolokids.org, or call (916) 572-0560. The agency can also use donated goods and volunteers.

copyright News-Ledger 2011

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