GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012


It is that time of year again where the GoodTimes recognizes the Best in Santa Cruz County 2012. I am so stoked to see the people I work with get a nod for all their hard work and it feels even better when the community recognizes the effort myself and Grind Out Hunger put forth. I want to thank everyone that voted and please support the businesses that support our community!


Welcome to our annual Best Of Santa Cruz Readers’ Poll. It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, we spotlight all of the local businesses, restaurants and humans that captured your interest over the past year.

GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012 Winners:

Local Mover Shaker GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012

Mover & Shaker (Local)-Danny Keith

Best Thrill Ride GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012 Specialized Aviation

Best Helicopter Ride/Local Thrill:Specialized Aviation

Best Display of Santa Cruz Talent GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012 Chris Rene helps Grind Out Hunger

Best Display of Santa Cruz Talent:Chris Rene

Best Credit Union/Bank GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012 Bay Federal Credit Union

Bank (local):Bay Federal Credit Union

Best New Restaurant GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012 Pono Hawaiian Grill

New Restaurant:Pono Hawaiian Grill

Surfing Spot:Pleasure Point

Website For Local 411-Santa Cruz Waves

Best Writer: Greg Archer 

GoodTimes Best of Santa Cruz County 2012 Runner-up Winners:

Surf Shop: Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop

Skate Shop: Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop

Non-Profit: Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County



KZSC 88.1

KZSC 88.1 was nice enough to have myself and Shawn Hatjes on air to discuss childhood hunger and malnutrition in Santa Cruz County.  Hosts of Conciliation Sunday Kevin Spitzer and Melissa Stone had a flurry of interesting questions and discussions ranged from why to how. Danny and Shawn go over every aspect of how Grind Out Hunger works and why the schools are so involved.

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With 1 in 4 children going food insecure in Santa Cruz County and over 55,000 people a month needing emergency food support, Grind Out Hunger in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County is doing everything it can to “educate and involve the community to end hunger and malnutrition”. Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County distributes over 700,000 pounds of food per month with over half being fresh fruit and produce through 200 member agencies and food for children distributions.

Grind Out Hunger was created through the vision of skateboarders helping kids overcome hunger. Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop founded Grind Out Hunger with the goal of inspiring kids to help kids; Danny Keith mentions “by going directly to the schools and talking with the kids, it has a huge impact.” Grind Out Hunger is an educational piece challenging local elementary, middle and high schools to raise food and money for hungry children in the community. Since the inception of Grind Out Hunger the youth of Santa Cruz County has collected over 1 million pounds of food for working poor families and children.

“The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they – at some distant point in the future – will take over the reigns. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely… because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.”quote by Alvin Toffler

Shawn Hatjes, Danny Keith and Melissa Stone on KZSC 88.1 Conciliation Sunday

Grind Out Hunger article in Watsonville Patch

February 6th, 2011 | Posted by dk in Grind Out Hunger - ()

Its amazing what the youth can do when empowered. What started out seven years ago as a way to teach kids altruism and compassion for their community has turned into a full-blown spectacle. The goal for 2010 Grind Out Hunger campaign in Santa Cruz County was 250,000 pounds almost double 2009′s raise of 130,000 pounds.

Skateworks in the building!

This year was a bit different, Grind Out Hunger added a new partner with Skateworks Skateshop to combine forces with Santa Cruz Skate and Surf ShopJimbo Phillips Graphix and 102.5 KDON. 2010 for Grind Out Hunger was by far the craziest it has ever been, with the need to feed kids up more than ever and the students buckling down and getting serious about rising to the challenge.

It all started with the Santa Cruz County Fair and education days collecting over 3000 pounds, great start to a busy year.

Then the speaking tour began: St Francis High, Aptos Jr. High, Cabrillo College, Gateway Elementary, Happy Valley Elementary, Lakeview Middle School, Santa Cruz High, Salesian Elementary and the list goes on.

3D Constructions Dominic Cusimano and Jesse Gullings Painting spent over a month building ramps at Second Harvest Food Bank  so that Grind Out Hunger could do the first annual Skateathon sponsored by Rotary Interact at Twin Lakes Church raking in over 13,000 pounds of food and giving away a 1999 Red Mustang.


That led to Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz stepping up and throwing down the 1st annual SkateJam presented by Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz and Rotary Interact (see the theme here?) both of these events were peppered by rain but it did not deter the kids from coming out and skating while donating food to a great cause.

It seemed that the kids were on a roll, school after school was smashing their previous years raise and setting new standards, gauntlets were being thrown down and some claims of who was beating who at what were circulating around feverishly as no one wanted to be left behind on this one.  With $1800 in gift certificates up for grabs from Skateworks Skateshop and Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop, here are your 2010 Grind Out Hunger Champions!

The 2010 Grind Out Hunger Heavy Weight Champion was Monterey Coast Preparatory, Sinda Merritt and her students really set the bar raising over 21,000 pounds of food!! This amazing group of angels were relentless in their pursuit of raising food for kids putting the goal well ahead of themselves. Over the last three years with Grind Out Hunger, Sinda and crew have pulled in just under 40,000 pounds of food…not bad for 25 kids (do the math thats 1600 pounds per student!) Monterey Coast Prep takes home $600 in gift certificates to Skateworks Skateshop and Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop.

These kids got creative capping off their drive with “FREE” gift wrapping that raised thousands of dollars!

St Francis Central Coast Catholic High School, John Marheineke and the students invited Grind Out Hunger to come speak at their campus. Just over 200 kids attend the school and had barely participated in the food drive in years past. This was the 1st stop for 2010 Grind Out Hunger, you could feel the energy from the kids and they were pumped up. When asked what their goal was, the students blurted out “8,000 pounds.” Later when speaking with John he was obviously worried, “How in the world are we going to do that?” In reality, it didn’t matter if they did, the fact was they had a goal, were focused and no matter what they would give it 100 percent. Grind Out Hunger is proud to say that the students and staff  not only hit the 8,000 pounds they passed it. Congrats on the 10,001 pounds! St Francis Central Coast Catholic High School skates away with $600 in gift certificates to Skateworks Skateshop and Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop.

St Francis Central Coast Catholic High School sold 10 Grind Out Hunger skate decks totaling 3000 pounds!

Aptos Jr. High was a veteran of 2009 Grind Out Hunger and they lost no time is establishing that 2010 was going to be a record breaker.  Brian Saxton and his students proceeded to make challenges, prizes and selling hot cocoa…whatever it took to hit 10,000 pounds. Well, Aptos Junior High not only did that they went to a whopping 11,662 pounds. Aptos Junior High pulls a repeat and wheels away $300 in gift certificates to Skateworks Skateshop and Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop.

Aptos Jr. High presents a check to Grind Out Hunger for $3500 or 10,500 pounds!

Gateway Elementary is also no stranger to the Grind Out Hunger challenge. The staff and students here always get creative and focus on the end goal of feeding kids. The presentation at Gateway is always fun as the kids are so inquisitive about how the food gets distributed, what kind of food can they bring in and how much more the dollar actually allows the purchase of healthy nutritious food. Thank goodness this is our future at work, its apparent that if we continue to provide altruistic ways for the youth of today to participate, society will become a better place. Gateway Elementary dropped 6,545 pounds into the barrels and captured 1st place for Elementary schools. Gateway Elementary slashes its way to $300 in gift certificates to Skateworks Skateshop and Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop.

At the end of it all, the youth in all their amazingness (is that a word?) managed to roll right by the 250,000 pound number, sliding in at a cool 278,616 pounds setting a new record and firmly placing the youth of Santa Cruz County as the third largest contributor to the Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive 2.1 million pound goal. It is impressive the direction that Grind Out Hunger is going and there is some amazing news on the horizon for this kid powered charity so stay tuned!

And check out the Grind Out Hunger blog to see more photos and a list of how many pounds of food each school raised.

Danny Keith is a relentless opportunist, philanthropist, freelance writer, social entrepreneur, consultant, radio personality, surfer, father, husband and business owner. One of his many passions is working with Grind Out Hunger and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Watsonville Patch