Archive for February, 2011

A Day in the Life of an Agency Relations Manager

Guest Post by Cory Sylvester, Food Bank staff member: I am the Agency Relations Manager at the Food Bank. A big part of my job is being a liaison to our many agencies. In order to partner with the Food Bank, agencies must go through both an application process and an on-site inspection.

On Saturday,  Feb.  12th I had arranged to visit the Church of Good Shepherd in Pittsburg while their weekly  pantry  was in operation from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon. You have to understand I never know what quite to expect when I show up to something like this, consequently the staff of volunteers isn’t really sure what to expect from me either.

It was a nice day and chairs had been set up for the crowd of about 40 people. It was a very social atmosphere with the staff offering coffee and pastries while people talked and waited.

The crowd had become aware that the “Guy from the Food Bank” was here for an inspection.  There was now a lull in conversations and a look of concern on most of the faces, because they could see me poking around and asking a lot of questions.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised by the organization of this new pantry site. I complimented the staff on their efforts and enthusiasm. This certainly lightened the mood after all of my questions about logistics, food safety, volunteers, pest control, refrigeration temperatures, etc… I told the staff what a great partnership this pantry would make with the Food Bank.

What happened next was a little unusual. The Pantry Manager announced to the crowd that they had passed the inspection.  The grateful crowd cheered, people stood up and started clapping. A few came over and patted me on the back to thank me. I think I was blushing.

Contra Costa County wins the Big Apple trophy

Contra Costa County wins the Big Apple trophy in Holiday Food Fight 2010!  Contra Costa County Supervisors and Food Fight team leaders show off the Big Apple and other awards presented by Larry Sly at the February 8 Board of Supervisors meeting.  Together, Contra Costa and Solano County employees raised over $143,000 for the Food Bank during the 2010 holiday season!

Who knew that onions are so beneficial for your health!

Did you know that onions are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and might inhibit tumor growth? Or that onions may be useful for the prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as protecting against certain infections? Onion can also improve lung function, especially in asthmatics and the more pungent varieties appear to possess the greatest concentration of health-promoting phytochemicals.*

Try some recipes featuring the onion this week! Here are a couple of onion recipes to try:

Onion and Mushroom Quinoa

Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Skillet

Look at all these onions getting ready for distribution.

You can find more recipes and sign up for the Pound For Pound Challenge at What is your favorite recipe that includes onions?

*Information from and

Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville joins Pound For Pound Challenge

Pound For Pound Challenge is underway and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano welcomes the support of Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville.  For the third consecutive year, Feeding America and NBC’s The Biggest Loser have partnered with General Mills and Subway to encourage Americans to “Lose Nationally, Feed Locally”.

Take the challenge to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and you help both yourself and your community to be healthier.  Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 11 cents to Feeding America for every pound pledged (up to a maximum donation of $1,040,000).  Feeding America will then distribute the money to the local food bank of your choice.  You can pledge your goals at

We at the Food Bank thank community partner Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville for getting the word out to its members.  You can check them out at

Where Do All of the Barrels Go During the Holidays?

Below are the businesses, schools and organizations that collected over 1,000 pounds during the holidays! Congratulations! There are hundreds of others that collected food during the holidays that I wish we had room to mention but if I did you would be reading for a long time. Whether the collection was 20 pounds or 7,000 pounds, we could not do what we do without everyone’s participation. Anyone who hosts a food drive is a CHAMPION to the Food Bank and those we serve!


Amcor Rigid Plastics

America’s Tire Company

American Shaolin Kenpo

Associated Students of Solano College


B. Gale Wilson Elementary

Bank of America

Bay Medic Ambulance

Benicia Middle School

Bishop Ranch/Sunset Development Corp.

Boy Scouts

Brenden Theaters

Burton Valley Elementary

California High School

California Maritime Academy

Campolindo High School

Charlotte Wood Middle School

Chevron – Concord

Chevron – San Ramon

Civic Executive Center

Common Interest Management

Concord Chevrolet

Concord Mobile Home Park

Congregation B’nai Tikvah

County Connection

CVS Store – Business Center Drive, Fairfield

CVS Store – Lafayette

Dallas Ranch Middle School

Dan O. Root Elementary

Del Rey School

Dhyan Yoga Center

Diablo Vista Middle School

Dougherty Valley High School

El Dorado Middle School

Ellerhorst Elementary

Fairfield Chamber of Commerce

Fairfield High School

Fidelity National Title

Foothill Middle School

Franklin Middle School

Geovera Holdings

Giovani’s Produce

Girl Scouts

Golden Gate Fields

Green Valley Middle School

Hercules High School

Hercules Middle School

Herspring Company


Indian Valley Elementary School

Infineon Raceway

Iron Horse Middle School

Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School

John Muir Elementary – Antioch

Kaiser Permanente

Keller Williams Realty

Kensington Hilltop Elementary

Lafayette Elementary

Las Lomas High School

Little Bridges Child Care Center

Live Oak Elementary

M Service, Inc.

Mary Farmar Elementary

Mattice Law Offices

Meher School

Mi Pueblo Food Center

MIT Academy

Monte Vista High School

Moraga Post Office

Mt. Diablo High School


Neil Armstrong Elementary

Nelda Mundy Elementary

New Life Church – San Ramon

North Hills Christian School

Northgate Christian Fellowship

Northgate High School

Old Republic Title

Park Middle School

Patterson Elementary

Pine Hollow Middle School

Pinole Valley High School

Pleasant Hill Middle School

PMI Mortgage

Rheem Theater

Rodriguez High School

Rolling Hills Elementary

Safeway Stores

San Ramon Valley High School

San Ramon Valley Islamic Center

Santa Maria Church – Orinda

Seven Hills School

Shannon Elementary

Shell Ridge Community Church

Small World Park

St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School

Stanley Middle School

State of California – Richmond

Temple Isaiah

The Peasant & The Pear

Tolenas Elementary School

Trader Joe’s

Travis Credit Union

Travis Elementary

Tri Delta Transit

UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Vacaville Ulatis Lions Club

Vanden High School

Walgreens – West Contra Costa County


Walnut Heights Elementary

Weight Watchers

Whole Foods Market – San Ramon

Whole Foods Market – Walnut Creek

Windemere Ranch Middle School

Windermere Lynne French

YMCA Pleasant Hill

Do you tweet?

If you have a twitter account, can you please help us out and ask your friends to as well? Help us by tweeting “My #USATODAY #KindnessChallenge is to help @foodbankccs ” + how you’d like to help! The challenge ends on 6 p.m. ET on Friday, February 18, 2011 and the top three charities will be featured in an upcoming story in USA TODAY.


My #USATODAY #KindnessChallenge goal is to help @foodbankccs end domestic hunger.

My #USATODAY #KindnessChallenge goal is to help @foodbankccs fight hunger.

My #USATODAY #KindnessChallenge goal is to help @foodbankccs feed the hungry in my community.

If you have any questions contact me at or @lisa_sherrill.

2010 Year Round Food Drives

Our 2010 year round food drives brought in 76,818 pounds of food. In Contra Costa County 63,501 pounds was donated from 54 sites and in Solano County 13,317 pounds from 25 sites was donated (in the fall we added in 3 libraries which have had great success). We have barrels in just about every city in our two counties.

Travis Credit Union which has 4 branches in Contra Costa and 12 branches in Solano County brought in 7,977 pounds. Northgate Christian Fellowship in Benicia and CVS at Business Center Drive in Fairfield are the 2 biggest donors in Solano County.

For Contra Costa, the big drives are Concord Chevrolet, Danville Congregational Church, Giovani’s Produce, CVS in Lafayette, the Moraga Post Office , Santa Maria Church in Orinda, Pleasant Hill YMCA, Whole Foods in Walnut Creek and San Ramon (does not include other product we pick up from them).


Tri Delta Transit fill-a-bus food drive

We need help year round. For everything you need to host your own food drive, visit the food drive section of our site.

Cooking Class

Last week I visited Sullivan Middle, a Farm 2 Kids school in Fairfield. They had cooking class where they made baked potatoes and snacked on apples and peanut butter.  They loved that the produce they get from the Food Bank enables them to do activities like this.  Their teacher, Ms. Denise told me that many kids come to the after school program hungry and she is really glad that she is able to offer them a healthy snack.

Through the Farm 2 Kids program, the Food Bank provides fresh fruits and vegetables to children whose families cannot afford to keep food on the table. As produce is perishable and expensive, many families have trouble feeding their kids the nutrients that are essential for developing children. Every week, Farm 2 Kids provides 3-5 pounds of fresh produce to more than 7,800 children in nearly 70 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.

Walk to Give & Get Healthy

Join us weekly as we “Walk to Give & Get Healthy”. The walks will take place every Sunday from 2pm to 3:30pm. Each walk will start off with a 15 minute warm up, followed by an hour walk then a 15 minute cool down. Our first walk will take place at Heather Farms Park Sunday 2/27 at 2pm.

Please email Veronica Wimer  at if you can make it and I will give you detailed directions of where we will meet up. Feel free to extend the invite out to friends/pets/family and encourage them to pledge (non-monetary) to lose or maintain a healthy weight at

Don’t forget your water!

Bittersweet Donation

Guest post by Larry Reynolds, Food Bank Driver: I was at the warehouse around 2:00 pm when a lady asked me if I can help her with a donation of food.  I said, “Sure, let me go get a cart.”  We loaded the cart and weighed the donations.  It was 130 pounds.  As she was filling out the paperwork I asked, “Where did the food originate?”

She proceeded to tell me that she donated approximately 340 pounds on January 27, 2011 and then the 130 pounds on January 28, 2011.  The food came from her sister in-law’s friend.  The friend had 470 pounds of food in her home and she passed away from anorexia at 42 years old.  My jaw dropped and I said, “How sad.  What a tragedy.”  The friend was so young.

The lady who brought in the donations said this was like an organ donation.  Some other people will benefit from this tragic thing.

The story is very bittersweet… a sad story with a happy ending.