Archive for February, 2011

Bad Apples Gone Good

When we buy fresh produce for those we help, we often find broken open apples that we can’t distribute to people. Based on health department regulations, we can’t distribute these bad apples but we also don’t want those we help to feel they deserve badly bruised or broken apples. So what do we do with these apples? Well, today I got to deliver a few small containers of bad apples to Loma Vista Farm in Vallejo (an educational farm not far from Six Flags Theme Park). My two favorite cows, Oreo and Keebler could hardly wait for me to hand them an apple. They open their mouths and I just put the apple inside – their tongues are really scratchy! After a few hand fed apples, I dumped the rest in their food bin. They are really happy cows right now. It is a great feeling to be helping the environment by reducing our garbage and helping this wonderful educational farm.

As I was starting to leave, one of our Food Bank trucks pulled up to the school down the street delivering the Farm 2 Kids produce. Rita, at Loma Vista Farm told me the children will come and visit the cows and chickens later today and notice that the farm animals have apples to eat. She uses this as an educational moment to explain to the children that farm animals also need fresh produce. So if Keebler and Oreo like apples, you children should too. She says it always works and the children come back the next week saying how much they now like apples and how much they appreciate the farm animals as they are pretty smart animals. I left with a smile on my face knowing our community partner Loma Vista Farms is helping spread the word of how good fresh produce is for all of us.

Oreo and Keebler

Oreo and Keebler (picture from the Loma Vista farms facebook page)

Service Clubs Make a Difference

I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Concord for several years and it has shown me a great example of how communities come together.  Service clubs are made up of individuals who want to contribute to the community, have an opportunity to network for their business and get a chance to meet some really nice people who share their interest in living in a strong community.  One of the things I like about Rotary is that fighting hunger is a major concern of the international organization.  On the local level, my club sorts food twice a year at the Food Bank warehouse.  The Clayton Sunrise Rotary club sorts food every week and the Lamorinda Sunrise club and the Diablo Vista Club sort food several times a year.  Many other Rotary clubs make financial donations to the Food Bank.

Communities are better when Service Clubs Make A Difference.  Rotary clubs. Kiwanis clubs, Lions clubs, Soroptomists, and Masons all contribute to their community.  The Food Bank can do its work because of the support it receives from the community.  Service clubs help make that happen.

Rotary Club of Concord

Rotary Club of Concord

Tilapia, Cauliflower, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Hello again Pound For Pound Challenge team. To start off this first week of February I have found recipes for a main course, a side dish and of course we can’t forget the dessert. Cook ‘em up and let us all know what you think!

  • Healthified Seared Tilapia with Lemon-Tarragon Sauce


Healthified Seared Tilapia with Lemon-Tarragon Sauce

  • Mustard and Honey Cauliflower Medley

Mustard and Honey Cauliflower Medley

Mustard and Honey Cauliflower Medley

  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Read more about the Pound For Pound Challenge here on our blog or sign up for the Pound For Pound Challenge at

Family Volunteer Day

Wow! What a great time our Food Bank families that participated in Family Volunteer Day had this weekend – an opportunity for younger children and their families to give back to the community! They boxed produce, learned about the Food Bank and who we serve, worked on art projects, and got to meet like-minded families. If you are interested in the next Family Volunteer Day – scheduled for Saturday, April 30 at our Fairfield facility and Sunday, May 1 in Concord please let us know.

Family Volunteer Day

Families boxing produce.

Family Volunteer Day

The event included a tour of the warehouse led by Executive Director, Larry Sly.

I’d like to invite you to stay in touch with us by simply joining our online community of caring citizens who receive occasional e-news related to their area(s) of interest.  Additionally, we hope you will read about the many community events ( taking place which offer a variety of ways to get involved and help support the Food Bank.

Our Leaders of Tomorrow

Guest post by Creekside PTA: While running for Student Council President at Creekside Elementary at the end of her 4th grade year, Maddie Dailey, now 10 years old, thought of several ideas that might be fun and beneficial for the school.  She talked about a smoothie day, keeping the food hot until the 5th graders get to lunch, more balls at recess, and her most prized idea:  a nighttime Halloween Party organized by the students.

Needless to say, that was a hit and soon after Maddie took office in 5th grade it was time to start planning.  She presented her idea to the Creekside PTA, for financial support, all the while budgeting for a “break even” event.  She was really hoping for a fun and affordable party for everyone, and not focus on fundraising.  Maddie put up a student volunteer sign up sheet in the lunch room one day, and within an hour there were signatures on front and back with no room to spare.  The entire Student Council, and loads of other 4th and 5th graders from Creekside Elementary, were thoroughly excited to help setup, decorate, and most of all create a pretty spectacular Haunted House.  Parents and staff helped of course, but this event was primarily a student created and executed event.  With a line out the door at the entrance, food running out, tickets being re-used, and a line around the room to enter the Haunted House, the event turned into one of the most fantastic and successful events to date at Creekside.  All of the success also led to another surprise, it became profitable.

The Student Council held a special session to decide the best way to handle these extra and unexpected funds from the Halloween Party.  They had many options, including parties and karaoke machines, but we should all know by now that kids are smarter than that.  They instead decided to help the community by donating $500 to the  Food Bank, as well as help purchase trees and a new bench for the school.  Here’s hoping these 9 and 10 years old’s become our leaders of tomorrow!

Creekside Elementary

Larry accepting the donation from student Maddie.

Creekside Elementary

Executive Director Larry Sly at Creekside Elementary receiving the $500 donation to the Food Bank from the students.

Creekside Elementary

Larry telling the Creekside Elementary students about the Food Bank and the impact their donation will make.

Favorite and Seasonal Recipes from the Pound For Pound Challenge

NBC’s The Biggest Loser, General Mills, Subway, and food banks around the country are partnering on the Pound For Pound Challenge for the third year in a row. For every pound of weight participants pledge to lose, a pound of food (or 5 pounds to maintain a healthy weight) will be donated to a local food bank (like ours). When you sign up for the Pound For Pound Challenge at,  you can immediately join a team –our team’s name is “Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano” – or create your own. You can also join our group “Pound For Pound Challenge – Contra Costa and Solano” on facebook for support and event updates.

In an effort to keep our Pound For Pound Challenge teammates motivated and focused on their challenge, I thought it would be fun to highlight some favorite and seasonal recipes from the  Pound For Pound Challenge website on a weekly basis.

To kick off our first recipe of the 2011 Season, this week we are going to showcase our Pound For Pound Challenge Champion’s favorite breakfast recipe, Patti’s Melt (links to recipes listed below).

Patti's Melt

Patti's Melt

In addition to Patti’s Melt, we have two seasonal recipes highlighting oranges and beets: Orange-Glazed Chicken with Rosemary and Roasted Beet Salad.

Beets and oranges are high in vitamin C, key nutrients that boost the immune system.

Eat Better America! – Not only is exercise important in achieving your weight loss goal but eating right is a key component to facilitating weight loss and keeping it off.

Patti’s Melt – From the Biggest Loser

(Click on “view previous weeks’ recipes” and scroll down until you find Patti’s Melt.)

Chicken and beet salad – from Eating Right America