Archive for 2009

Give Where You Live

Volunteer Recognition

The Food Bank honored volunteers on October 18th at our annual recognition in the Concord warehouse. Volunteers were entertained by the Singing Blue Stars of the USS Hornet and awards were presented. The award for Volunteer of the Year was shared by two amazing women this year.

Debra Mason from the Ambrose Recreation Center and the Mt. Diablo CARES after school program was recognized for her work on the Farm 2 Kids Program. She has worked tirelessly since 2007 to create, pilot, and expand this program. While her work with the after school program in Bay Point is her occupation, her efforts to make the Farm 2 Kids program possible are completely volunteer. She has spent hours of her personal time working to keep the program going at the 5 Bay Point schools she oversees, but also working to expand the program into the 8 schools in Concord we now serve. When a few of the new Concord schools did not have the resources to come and pick up the produce, Debra and her husband Lee stepped in and made the deliveries for them. She is fighting to expand Farm 2 Kids into the Antioch Elementary Schools. Without her help, the Food Bank would not be serving the over 6,000 children in 55 schools.

Jo Crackel is a tireless supporter of the Food Bank and the people we serve. Jo has volunteered with both our Food For Children and Extra Helpings crews. Food For Children serves four and five year old children who are too old to receive WIC services but too young to be in school where a breakfast and lunch program may be available to assist with their diet. Boxes provide much needed food for these children each month. The Extra Helpings program serves clients of all ages. Boxes are either home delivered or picked up at local agencies depending on the need of the recipients. Neither of the programs would be possible without the crew that makes the boxes. Hundreds of boxes are put together every month by dedicated volunteers. Jo is a real leader on this crew and is greatly respected by all. Jo and her husband Rich also volunteer for several of our direct distributions helping at various sites every month. The Food Assistance Program volunteers arrive at sites early in the morning, help set up tables and canopies, bag produce and non perishable groceries, and distribute to clients all in just a few busy hours. One of Jo’s fellow volunteers recently said it would take several volunteers to replace Jo.

Fighting Hunger One Can Decorating Contest at a Time

Today I had the privilege of spending the morning at Muir Orthopaedic Specialists (MOS) in Brentwood and Walnut Creek as the honorary judge of their department decorating contest. Every year the different departments compete by decorating their offices and this year they used the non-perishable food they have been collecting for the Food Bank. It was such a creative and enjoyable way to raise awareness. Take a look at some of the photos below. Look at the details: the trees are made out of cans wrapped in brown paper, the “guys” on the football field are cans and even the tent is food wrapped in paper. MOS will also be collecting food throughout the rest of the year!

Thank you to everyone at MOS for all the hard work you did to collect the food and then use it in a creative way. You are all winners to the Food Bank!

Lisa Sherrill
Community Relations Manager

The Giving Beautifully Food Bank Challenge I

Embassy Suites Walnut Creek Launches a Food Donation Discount of $20 per Night

The Embassy Suites Walnut Creek at 1345 Treat Boulevard recently announced the launch of its Donate Food rate, which offers up to a $20 discount off midweek rates* and $10 off weekend rates* each night when guests pledge to donate three canned goods or more at
check-in. All donations will go to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. This special rate is available for stays from now through December 30, 2009.

“We are very excited to work with the Food Bank to support the local community as well as give something back to our guests, said David Burri, the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Embassy Suites. The package includes accommodations in a deluxe two room suite, daily full cooked to order breakfast and manager’s reception* with full bar, beer, wine and appetizers. The hotel completed an extensive renovation this past September and features 250 suites overlooking an eight story tropical atrium filled with tropical trees and lavish landscaping. All of the suites include up to date furnishings and amenities including granite counter tops, dark wood features and 42” HD TV’s.

The hotel provides guests with a full complement of services and amenities, including local transportation to restaurants and offices within a five mile radius of the hotel, 7,500 square feet of meeting and banquet space, and a full bar and restaurant on site. The hotel is in the heart of Walnut Creek and just minutes away from Downtown Walnut Creek’s chic shopping district as well as across the street from Bay Area Rapid Transportation. All Embassy Suites Hotels® offer spacious two-room suites that include a separate living area with a sofa bed, armchair, and well-lit dining/work table, private bedroom and bath, hair dryers, MP3 clock radio, two televisions, two dual-line phones, high-speed Internet access, wet bar, mini-refrigerator, microwave oven, iron and ironing board, Precor® fitness center, convenient complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast each morning and complimentary two-hour Manager’s Reception* each evening.

To make reservations, travelers can visit the Embassy Suites Hotels Web site at, call 1-800-EMBASSY or call the hotel directly at 925-934-2500 and ask for the “Donate Food” discount.

*Service of alcohol subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age. Discounts are given off of the hotel’s standard rates.

About Embassy Suites Hotels
Founded in 1984, Embassy Suites Hotels defines the upscale, all-suite segment and today has 201 hotels, with an additional 51 in the pipeline. With spacious two-room suites, engaging team members and an inviting atrium environment, guests are allowed to put their feet up and feel right at home. To learn more, visit

Ready, Set, Bag!

Join us for the theatrical tour kick off of Ready, Set, Bag! in the SF Bay Area next week:

Tues. Nov. 3rd at 7pm – Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (Berkeley)

Wed. Nov. 4th at 7pm – Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (Berkeley)

Thur. Nov. 5th at 7pm – Rialto Cinemas Cerrito (El Cerrito)

Thurs. Nov. 19th at 7pm – Roxie Theater (San Francisco)

In the Bay Area and across the country, Ready, Set, Bag! is partnering with local food banks to raise awareness, food, and money in this much needed time.

You’ll get $1 off the ticket purchase for bringing in 2 or more cans and 50 cents off popcorn. This discount is sponsored by The Mechanics Bank and the Theaters and for each ticket purchased, the Mechanics Bank is also giving $1 to the food bank in that area.

Your purchase will make a difference!

Q&A after the film with the directors and special guests from the film.

Please invite your friends, families and coworkers to join you at the screenings.

Trailer at:
Become a fan of our new facebook fan page:
Find your local food bank at

Letter from Congressman George Miller to You!

For months the Food Bank has been talking about the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization. We are happy to tell you that some exciting developments have recently taken place. Our Congressman George Miller from Contra Costa and Solano counties is chair of the committee that will be leading the reauthorization of child nutrition programs and has written a letter to all of you about this exciting news! For more information about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization visit /give%20help/advocate/advocateCNR.html.

October 14, 2009

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your support of for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Times are tough for many working families, and without your support the Food Bank would not be able to carry out the good work that they do.

Many of you have expressed your concerns about reauthorizing the child nutrition programs that are a safety net for families who are struggling to make ends meet and I have updates to share with you.

This week, Congress enacted a short term extension of those child nutrition programs while my committee continues our efforts to reauthorize the programs completely by the end of next year. We also made some key investments to meet critical child nutrition needs, at no new cost to taxpayers

We know that that hunger does not take a vacation during the summer so we’ve invested $85 million for pilot summer food service program projects that will help expand nutrition benefits for low-income children during the summer.

We’ve also provided support to help increase the number of children who are automatically enrolled for free school meals and grant funding for school food service equipment to help schools store and prepare healthy foods.

And we set aside $8 million for competitive grants so that child care facilities can improve the quality of meals and promote healthy eating habits.

Giving our most vulnerable children access to healthy, safe, nutritious – and affordable – meals is one of the most important things we can do to help them thrive in school and in life. Learn more about the investments in child nutrition, please visit


George Miller
Member of Congress

If you or anyone you know is interested in learning about new and exciting anti-hunger advocacy work please let us know at

California’s Food Banks Go Locavore

Please check out this wonderful article highlighting California food banks’ innovative program to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need: 80 million pounds this year!

Last year, we distributed 3 million pounds of produce in Contra Costa and Solano counties. One of the ways we are able to get so much fresh produce into the community is through our Farm 2 Kids program. Every week, Farm 2 Kids provides 3-5 pounds of fresh produce to over 6,000 children in 55 after school programs in Contra Costa and Solano counties. Over 50% of the students in these schools receive free or reduced cost school lunches, meaning at least half of the households in the school are considered low-income by the federal government.

If you have questions or need more information about the Farm 2 Kids program, please contact Caitlin Sly, (800) 870-FOOD extension 241 or

Eat Cheesecake, Fight Hunger

The Cheesecake Factory announced that over 320,000 cans of soup were collected across all Cheesecake Factory locations nationwide during the month of September. This surpassed the original goal of 100,000 cans.

On September 30, The Cheesecake Factory held its “You Dine, We’ll Donate” event across all locations. For every guest who dined at a Cheesecake Factory on that day and donated 2 cans of soup, 10% of their guest bill was donated to local food banks. Our local Cheesecake Factory collected 187 pounds of food.

Continuing through July 2010, for every slice of The Cheesecake Factory’s Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake sold, $0.25 will be donated to Feeding America. Having tried a slice (or two) myself, I highly recommend you visit your local Cheesecake Factory and enjoy Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake!

One Man, One Bike, One Fight

Drew Marinelli was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa who became so concerned about hunger throughout the world that he decided to ride his bike from Key West, Florida to San Francisco to spread the word about steps people can take to help those in need. In doing this trip, he has connected with Rotary clubs throughout the US, and our Executive Director’s club in Concord hosted him on September 25.

Drew is also interested in the work food banks do to fight hunger, and he toured our facility before attending the Rotary meeting. Drew shared his observations on hunger in the world and about his bicycle ride with staff and volunteers.

Drew’s trip was featured on the 5 O’clock news on FOX2 that night. You can find out more on his website Finally, I should note that Drew is 6 feet 9 inches tall, so we took his picture with Kathleah, our Accounting Specialist, who is less than 5 feet tall. :=)