High Country Growers Association assists at F.U.N. Group food program

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High Country Growers Association member Andrew Carey volunteers at the Friends Uniting Neighbors Group’s food program Thursday, April 23, at the Anza Community Hall. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

Several members of the High Country Growers Association assisted a slew of volunteers at the Friends Uniting Neighbors Group food distribution event Thursday, April 23, at the Anza Community Hall.

Wearing the coronavirus required facemasks and gloves, Jake Baird, Jazmyn McCammon and Andrew Carey volunteered to unload trucks and trailers, organize and box food and repackage bulk items into smaller portions.

McCammon published a video statement Monday, April 13, on behalf of the HCGA on social media, offering the organization’s assistance to anyone in need during the coronavirus outbreak. She and the other members of the group put their muscles and smarts to the test, making good on that promise at the F.U.N. Group event.

Jake Baird of the High Country Growers Association moves boxes of groceries from the trailer to waiting volunteers at the Friends Uniting Neighbors group’s food program at the Anza Community Hall. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

HCGA is a nonprofit group that promotes sustainable cannabis cultivation in Riverside County, providing education and support to the community.

Usually held as a walk-up event, the F.U.N. Group program is now a drive-up distribution to limit contact between people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cars, SUVs and trucks pulled up to be loaded with the food boxes.

“I love it when diverse groups can come together for a common cause,” organizer Bill Donahue said. “The F.U.N. Group has had longtime supporters, including people from most area churches. Robyn Garrison and Common Grounds have not only supported the food box program, but for several years they almost single-handedly underwrote the entire cost of the end of the month meals without ever asking for acknowledgement. Gary Worobec, who is best known as the voice of Take Back Anza, has been a longtime supporter. We also have volunteers from the High Country Growers Association. Today, the HCGA showed up in force. What a blessing to have some fresh backs to lift food. We have people working together for the common good from all perspectives.”

Take Back Anza advocates for sensible cannabis laws designed to protect residents and preserve the environment. The organization supports Riverside County Ordinances 925 and 348 which allow a pathway for personal and medical use of marijuana as well as the opportunity for commercial operations in land use zones that are away from homes and families.

McGammon, president of the HCGA, said, “It’s time to reach out to your neighbor.”

The F.U.N. Group was established as a gathering of like-minded people that joined together to benefit the community. Members from multiple area churches, civic organizations and other groups come together as friends and neighbors united for the good of the community. Their sponsorship of the food ministry is ongoing.

To learn more about the F.U.N. Group, visit them on Facebook.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.