4th Street Enterprises

Canning applesauce in the commercial kitchen at The Gathering church on Monday, March 16. The rims are wiped down before the lids and rings are placed on the jars, which are then processed in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. A donated box of apples yielded 40 individual serving jars of the cinnamon-spiked treat.

During our second day of canning, and in the course of another Restart lesson, we jarred another 18 half-pints of applesauce. With so many hands, the work went so quickly that we fit in two batches.

We were able to preserve all of the apples we’d been given. Forty servings of applesauce, packaged so that none will go to waste.

Everyone agreed how much better the “homemade” applesauce is than what you can buy at the store (although we do work in a commercial kitchen, at The Gathering church).

While the apples were cooking down, the students came up with the logo for their business, 4th Street Enterprises. The logo reflects what being in the Restart program means to some of the participants, and features a sun and a bee. Camera-ready art is currently being created from a student’s drawing.

Because one of the main goals of the Restart program is to help students become gainfully employed, 4th Street Enterprises may offer services, such as lawn care, and we may also sell products we make, such as jams and dried fruits, made from whatever produce is donated to us. We are hoping to be allowed to glean whatever might be available in local fields and orchards, as well as receiving items from local grocery stores.

Some of the ladies have also expressed an interest in sewing and the fabric arts, and at least one sewing machine has been donated, so we may be creating upcycled fashions and other items from donations we’ve received, as well.

The proceeds from any services or products we sell will be used to help fund the program.

Because of the nature of the materials we’ll be working with, all our products will be limited production. We’ll offer them on our Facebook pages, as well as at farmers markets and similar venues.

The case of donated apples, for example, was transformed into 40 jars of applesauce, which took two full class days to make. If there is any left after the students enjoy and share with friends and family, we might offer it for sale. If we do, we’ll offer it first come, first served on our Facebook page.

We’re very grateful to have the commercial kitchen at the church, The Gathering at PCC, to work in, until the kitchen at H.O.S.T. House is completed. With our knowledge base, we sincerely hope to have the ability to preserve and share whatever food is donated to us over the coming days and weeks.

Salsa garden

We’ve also set a goal of selling salsa made with tomatoes we’re planning to plant as soon as we can round up the materials and supplies for a salsa garden. If all goes to plan, we’ll be selling the finished product at the farmers market late this summer.

For the moment, all we need for the salsa garden is 30 five-gallon buckets and 30 tomato plants. We could also use a hand picking up compost from the City of Modesto’s compost facility on Jennings Road.

Serving our community during the COVID-19 pandemic

We are very grateful for the tremendous support both H.O.S.T. House and Naomi’s House have received from the community, and are considering ways to serve our community in these uncertain times. We will be posting updates as our plans unfold.

To donate, particularly to our current food-related projects, please contact Jenifer West at (209) 985-3407.

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