Food Fight: Winning the Fight to Get Needed Food to Locals


Many families in the town of Idyllwild are eating better thanks to the Academy alumni, students, and staff working with Mountain Communities COVID-19 Mutual Aid (MCCMA) to prepare and distribute food parcels once a week. The parcels, packed with food staples and produce from an Anza-based supplier and paid for by the Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation, go to area residents who are in financial need or unable to get to stores.

Mara Schoner and Mark Yardas, regular Idyllwild Arts Foundation volunteers and parents of two alumni, created MCCMA. Zora Schoner ’17, Dante Yardas ’14—the children of Mara and Mark—Gemini Anderson ’12, Mark Beebe ’19, Audrey Carver ’17, Yan Ivanov ’18, Lainie Wilke ’20, and Owen Zorn ’17 are the participating alumni citizen-artists. All are currently local, though some have recently returned from residences as far away as Wales, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.

The broad commitment by the Idyllwild Arts community to citizenship as well as the arts is also reflected by the involvement in the food program of current students Rory Wilke and Geneva Dagnall, as well as of current and recent staff members too numerous to name.

Chris Stroud attended Idyllwild Arts Academy for a time in the 1990’s and now manages the Idyllwild Arts dining hall. He and the dining hall staff, with help from volunteers like those mentioned above, distribute the boxes on Thursdays at Camp Maranatha, using the Academy’s refrigerated trailer. Residents can pick up a food box from MCCMA near the Camp Maranatha entrance, then pick up more food from Idyllwild Arts near the exit.