From a simple act of sharing garden produce with senior neighbors in 1973, Grey Bears has grown into one of the most resourceful food distribution and recycling nonprofits in the country. Local, vital and multifaceted, our mission is to improve the health and well being of seniors through volunteerism and food distribution.
Grey Bears promotes good nutrition, activity and social connection as the perfect recipe for healthy aging. The brown bag program delivers a weekly bag of fresh produce and healthy staples to 4,200 seniors – including 1,000 that are homebound. That adds up to two million meals each year.
A generous community makes it possible. Your donations of household items such as furniture, clothing, TVs, e-waste, and old appliances stock the Grey Bears thrift store, computer electronics store and bookstore, and keep our Chanticleer and Buena Vista recycling centers humming.
Volunteer opportunities abound - from gleaning produce in orchards, filling bags, and driving a route, to testing electronics, running a thrift store register and composting. More than 500 amazing volunteers donate 80,000 hours of service to Grey Bears each year, helping connect and sustain seniors, our community and our environment.
“I am so grateful for the food in my weekly brown bag and my delivery driver, Paula, who I adore. I am disabled and my husband passed away four years ago. Grey Bears is a lifesaver.”
— Victoria, age 92 of Santa Cruz
“I see the brown bag line as a dance, it’s like choreographed movement, it’s my yoga.”
— Alan B, volunteer, Aptos
“Grey Bears thrift store is my home away from home, and I love the diversity of shoppers. One woman buys men’s shoes, spiffs them up and donates them to homeless veterans. Another buys puzzles and gives them to people who are incarcerated. A man found a couple of wheels for a cart he built for his elderly dog.”
— Susan D, volunteer, Santa Cruz
From a simple act of sharing garden produce with senior neighbors in 1973, Grey Bears has grown into one of the most resourceful food distribution and recycling nonprofits in the country. Local, vital and multifaceted, our mission is to…