By Collin Breaux | Email: cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux

The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano has been recognized as a California Nonprofit of the Year by the California Association of Nonprofits for its role in helping the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March, The Ecology Center committed to donating 20% of the food it grows to people in need. That food is distributed in various ways, including through the city’s senior food distribution program and CREER.

“As with most nonprofits, we do this because we love it,” said Jonathan Zaidman, director of impact and partnerships for The Ecology Center. “The community is really benefiting from the work we do.”

Since March, The Ecology Center committed to donating 20% of the food it grows to people in need. Photo courtesy of Katie Hibbard.

The Ecology Center was nominated for the distinction by State Assemblymember Bill Brough. Usually, nonprofits travel to the State Capitol in Sacramento for in-person recognition, but The Ecology Center received a seal of appreciation this year due to physical gatherings being limited by the pandemic.

Since the health crisis, The Ecology Center has canceled their previously scheduled public programs. The nonprofit has limited the number of customers allowed at a given time in their Farm Stand and is following other safety guidelines, including social distancing and using plexiglass barriers.

They have also ramped up food production and doubled down on distribution, including through curbside produce pickup, Zaidman said.

Visit theecologycenter.org for more information.

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