Archive for May, 2011

Stamp Out Hunger 2011 – Event Recap

Every January, even when the holidays are barely past us, we start planning for our largest food drive of the year, the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on the 2nd Saturday in May.

This year we received over 171,000 pounds of food from you and our other supporters in our two counties. This food drive would not be possible without the hard work of the postal clerks and the rural and city letter carriers who publicize the drive and bring back all of the food. These are our heroes! Their efforts will provide thousands of volunteer opportunities through the summer as our volunteers inspect, sort and box all of the donations. More importantly is that the donations will provide food during the summer to those in need in our community.

A special thanks to SaveMart and Safeway for lending us trailers to pick up the food from several of our post offices. A special thanks to all of the volunteers on Saturday, May 14th including employees from Wells Fargo Bank and Valero Refinery, volunteers from the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center and the United States Air Force volunteers from Travis AFB. These volunteers helped unload the letter carrier trucks and loaded the food into totes and barrels bound for our warehouses. We could never do what we do without our volunteers.

Next time you see a letter carrier, tell them THANK YOU for delivering the mail and caring about others in our community. Our Food Bank could not do what we do without the support of the National Association of Letter Carriers and you our supporters! Together we ARE Stamping Out Hunger!

2011 Food From The Bar – Walk-A-Thon

Guest post by Kerstin Firmin and Theresa Hurley at Contra Costa County Bar Association: On Friday, May 13th, the 2011 Food from the Bar Drive culminated in a flurry of fun activities organized by the Walnut Creek law firm Archer Norris. Kicking off the day in downtown Walnut Creek, dozens of walkers in matching blue shirts completed a 3-mile Walk-A-Thon, co-sponsored by Archer Norris, the Law Offices of Hinton Alfert, Sumner & Kaufmann; Shapiro, Buchman, Provine, Brothers, Smith LLP; Timken, Johnson, Hwang LLP; McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Brothers LLP, and Sports Basement.

We Walk for the Food Bank

Family members, friends and vendors joined the law firms in their efforts to raise much-needed funds for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. “My family gets together to volunteer at least one day every month,” one walker shared, adding “Next month, we’ll go to the Food Bank to help sort food supplies.”
After the walk, a casual dress fundraiser, raffle, wine auction, and potluck lunch at the Archer Norris office rounded out the day. The day’s events marked the conclusion of the two-week long annual food drive which has raised more than $800,000 and 54 tons of food for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano since its inception 16 years ago.

Did Contra Costa law firms reach their 2011 goal of collecting $100,000 and 10,000 pounds of food? The tallying begins…

Emily Newton of Archer Norris with her mother

Karin Wiborn, Archer Norris Executive Director; Tim Sweeney of One Risk Group, and Praggay Chaturvedi of Archer Norris

Calling All Artists!

Welcome our newest ongoing food drive: Bella Terra at 318 B Main Street in Vacaville! They are a “paint it yourself” ceramic pottery and mosaic studio. Here is what their website,, says:

Come in and enjoy the ideal environment for fun and creativity. Whether you are a parent looking for new ways to entertain the children and make personalized gifts for yourself, the grandparents or the teachers;  whether you want a unique way of spending time with loved ones and friends;  or whether you are a gifted, aspiring artist interested in a new medium… There’s no place like Bella Terra!

So how did they become a new food drive? Thanks to their letter carrier, Ellie, from the Vacaville Main Post Office, she asked and they said yes. But then I have heard all of the businesses love Ellie as she really cares about everyone on her route. Thanks Ellie and Bella Terra for hosting a barrel to collect food for those in need in Solano County.

Now if you are from Contra Costa and Vacaville is too far to go, we also have a barrel at Color Me Mine at 3541 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette so calling all artists – don’t forget to bring a can of food to help those in need!

Commit to being healthy

Guest post by Patti Anderson, Pound For Pound Challenge Champion and Biggest Loser Season 9 Contestant: There are many things in our lives that we have little control over and being on a tight budget may be one.  Eating healthy and living a fit lifestyle is within our control and can be achieved on a limited budget.

Fitness is free!  It doesn’t cost anything to take a walk, ride your bike, take the stairs instead of the elevator or run and play in the park.  Anyone can get off of the couch, learn what’s healthy to eat and exercise every day!

Eating healthy choices can be done with planning and preparation.  Measuring and weighing foods for proper serving sizes will also make your food dollars go farther and help to slim or maintain your waistline.

For parents, please remember that a healthy lifestyle must be consistently maintained for life and is more easily maintained when established during childhood.

There is just about a week and one-half left to pledge but you can commit to being healthy after the Challenge is over.  Help the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano earn a bigger share of the $1 million dollars being offered by the Pound For Pouch Challenge at no cost to you!  For every pound pledged, 11 cents (enough to secure one pound of food) will be donated to our local food bank.

Make your commitment and pledge today!

Swing and Dance with us on June 26th!

Take a musical trip back in time to the 40’s and 50’s as the fabulous Swingin’ Blue Stars of the USS Hornet join us again at our “Tropical Afternoon in the Admiral’s Garden” annual fundraising event.  Audiences of all ages get a thrill from their fun performances that mix saucy and romantic WWII tunes. You don’t want to miss it! Register today at Learn more about the Swingin’ Blue Stars

Fashionistas to Help Feed Families

Guest post by Barbara Glass – Publicity Coordinator, GFWC Clayton Valley Woman’s Club: On April 2nd, the GFWC Clayton Valley Woman’s Club (CVWC) hosted their Sixth Annual Festival of Tables and Fashion Show. The event benefiting the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano was a huge success. Over 184 women attended the sold-out event coordinated by chairperson Merle Whitburn and her committee. They enjoyed lunch catered by Rick’s on Second of Antioch and were waited on by husbands, sons and friends of club members outfitted handsomely in black slacks, white shirts and black bow ties.

Club members individually decorated 23 tables for the “festival of tables” that included different festive and whimsical themes such as Spring has Sprung, It’s a Froggy, Froggy World, A Day at the Beach, and Hearts and Flowers.

Coldwater Creek of Walnut Creek presented the fashion show. Models were CVWC members and Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano staff/volunteers. There was a mix of casual and dressy fashions from the popular Broadway Plaza store that were perfect for Bay Area living and traveling.

Attendees purchased tickets for wonderful silent auction and raffle prizes. There were over 34 baskets filled with goodies donated by club members and local businesses and assembled by club members plus many silent auction items donated from local organizations. Proceeds from the event totaled over $6,000 and benefited the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano which distributes food through various nonprofit programs that serve low income communities.

Models at Clayton Valley Woman's Club Benefit Fashion Show

Pictured Here (Left to right):  Alice Jordan – CVWC charter member, Donna Sullivan – daughter of CVWC member, Carmen Williams – CVWC member, Joyce Attkinson – CVWC member, Marilyn Fitzgerald – former CVWC member, Susan Stillings – Food Bank volunteer, Linda Waxman – Food Bank ambassador, Judy Bradford – Food Bank board member, and Veronica Wimer – Food Bank staff member.

Just added to the line-up: BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse!

If you love a cold beer on a summer day you will love the newest addition to our Admiral’s Garden Tasting Tent line-up, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse!

Sample BJ’s handcrafted Brewhouse Blonde and Jeremiah Red beers, Root Beer and Orange Cream handcrafted sodas, paired perfectly with delicious Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps.

Learn about our other tasting tents and get your tickets at See you at “A Tropical Afternoon in the Admiral’s Garden”!

Find BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse on Facebook.

Surplus produce goes to those in need

I spent the first week of May at the Feeding America “Appreciative Inquiry” gathering in Columbus, OH. Several hundred people came together to talk about the work we need to do together to distribute a billion pounds of surplus produce to hungry people throughout the United States. As usual, there is a great deal of work that needs to be done, but we have an incredible opportunity to help the people we serve.

Watch this video to see what I have to say about it:

Res Ipsa Jokuitor – Kickoff for Food from the Bar

Guest post by Kerstin Firmin, Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Communications Coordinator: Res Ipsa Jokuitor, the Comedy Night kickoff event for Food from the Bar, was a rib-splitting success.

The mood in the Back Forty BBQ banquet room was festive as more than 130 guests mingled, ready to be entertained by comedians Rocky LaPorte and Andrew Norelli. Food from the Bar Planning Committee Chair Ed Shaffer of Archer Norris and Lisa Reep, Executive Director of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, along with other committee members were on hand to greet guests and sponsors, including Archer Norris, Gilardi & Co., Nevin, Ramos & Steele, and U.S. Legal Support.

A delicious dinner of BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken and all the appropriate fixings, provided by Back Forty BBQ, quieted the crowd long enough for MC Justice James Marchiano to kick off the program.

Larry Sly, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, thanked those in attendance for their efforts over the past 16 years to provide much needed food and funds to Contra Costa and Solano residents. Sly shared statistics on hunger that surprised many of those assembled, noting that nearly 1/3 of all children in Contra Costa and Solano experience hunger on a daily basis.

Sly was followed by comedian Andrew Norelli. Norelli, a Danville resident and Northern California native soon had the crowd laughing at their own expense. Norelli drew heavily on his local knowledge and family life to keep the crowd smiling. Showing no fear of the legal system, he quickly made Justice Marchiano the target of many lighthearted barbs.

Following Norelli on stage was Rocky LaPorte. LaPorte whose credits include the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Comedy Central Specials, hit the crowd hard with his Chicago style humor. Like Norelli, La Porte seemed especially taken by Justice Marchiano, seeking reassurance frequently – “Isn’t that right, Judge?”

The event marked the beginning of the two-week long competitive food drive which has raised more than $800,000 and 54 tons of food for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano since its inception 16 years ago. Eager to hit this year’s goal of $100,000 and 10,000 pounds of food, the food drive began at the door: Comedy Night attendees were asked to bring canned goods for the chance to win great door prices. Almost 180 pounds of beef stew were collected that night – a great start!

Food From the Bar Comedy NightFood From the Bar Comedy Night

To see more photos, visit the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Facebook album:

Pizza for breakfast? Of course you can, if you healthify it!

Whether you have little time to spare (Pepperoni Pita Pizza) or have a few extra minutes to make the dough from scratch (Healthified Homemade Pizza) we’ve got two great pizza recipes for you to make at home.

Pepperoni Pita Pizza    

Recipe from The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser Season 7’s Sione Fa says of this delicious mini-pizza, “We are a pizza family, and my kids can’t even tell the difference with this healthier version. The kids make their own pizzas. Not only do they love doing it, but my wife and I love it that we now eat healthy as a family and still enjoy our favorite foods.”

1/8 cup low-fat marinara or tomato-basil sauce
1 medium whole grain pita (about 5″ diameter)
1/8 cup shredded fat-free or low-fat mozzarella cheese (see note)
8 slices (1/2 ounce total) lean turkey pepperoni
Fresh basil

Spread the sauce on top of the pita. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce. Distribute the pepperoni slices on top of the pizza. Bake in a toaster oven until the cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh basil. Note: Using low-fat mozzarella cheese will increase the calories to 200 and the grams of fat to 6.

Makes 1 (5¨) pizza
Per serving: 190 calories, 14 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates (1 g sugars), 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 650 mg sodium

Healthified Homemade Pizza   

Recipe from Eat Better America

Nutritional Information
1 slice: Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 410mg; Total Carbohydrate 21g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 3g); Protein 10g % Daily Value Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 20%; Calcium 25%; Iron 10% Exchanges 1 1/2 Starch, 0 Other Carbohydrate, 1/2 Lean Meat, 0 Medium-Fat Meat, 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices 1 1/2
Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:45 min
makes:8 servings

1 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup yellow or green bell pepper strips
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and oil until soft dough forms. (If dough is dry, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons additional milk.) On lightly floured surface, knead dough 10 times. Shape dough into ball. Cover with bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
2. Place dough on ungreased cookie sheet; flatten slightly. Roll out to 12-inch round. Bake 8 minutes.
3. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over crust; top with remaining topping ingredients. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is light golden brown and cheese begins to brown. Cut into wedges to serve.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

If you try these, or any of the challenge recipes, let us know!