Archive for August, 2011

Wear Orange

I love the San Francisco Giants but won’t wear the color orange. I love Halloween but won’t wear the color orange. And now I am asked to wear an orange t-shirt every Wednesday to symbolize hunger? Are you kidding me? But when I put on my new t-shirt with the statement “1 in 6 Americans Struggles With Hunger”, I felt like a superhero as I bagged fresh produce for people in need. No longer is it just about me and not liking the color orange, it is about what I can do in September to help the 1 in 6 people struggling with hunger.  Suddenly I have an endless amount of energy for putting bread on racks, sorting food and helping do the many tasks to get food out to those in need.

wear orange

Wear orange on Wednesdays in September!

In September, I am going to wear an orange t-shirt every Wednesday to remind me of the 1 in 6 people who are struggling with hunger. I am going to take ACTION to make sure I make a difference. Today is about ORANGE, tomorrow is about volunteering and making a difference. Every day is about all of us having the opportunity to be a SUPERHERO. Join me in wearing orange and being a superhero to those we may never meet but who receive the food they need thanks to all of us working together.

Learn more about how you can help make a difference during Hunger Action month this September at

New Study Shows That 22% Of Children Live at Risk of Hunger in Contra Costa and Solano Counties

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, released a new study which reveals in 21.7% and 22.4% of children under the age of 18 are struggling with hunger in Contra Costa and Solano counties respectively.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011”, also reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children are food insecure.

About half of the food insecure children in the Contra Costa and Solano counties are above 185% of the poverty line meaning they do not qualify for most federal nutrition programs including the National School Lunch Program due to the high cost of living in the area.

When discussing the issue with Larry Sly, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Executive Director, he said: “It is ironic that many children in our community are ineligible for government assistance programs, but their parents make so little, the children are food insecure. This is why the Food Bank’s work, both providing food and advocating for change, is so important.”

“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity” provides the following data in an interactive map format:

  • The percentage of the population who is food insecure in your county.
  • The percentage of children in your county that is eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.
  • The percentage of children in your county that is not eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.

By providing additional details about the face of child food insecurity at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the community based agencies they serve and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.

You can be a part of the solution. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or giving of your time and energy, everyone can play a role in ending hunger during Hunger Action Month this September. Learn more at

What is Hunger Action Month?

September is Hunger Action Month, when we ask everyone in America to take action to fight hunger in their community, all month long. Did you know that 1 in 6 people in Contra Costa and Solano are at risk of hunger?  Hunger Action Month is your opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more Americans than ever before.

Hunger Action MonthWhether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or volunteering, you can find the way that’s right for you to make a difference during Hunger Action Month. You can go online and view a video Matt Damon made about hunger, wear orange on Wednesdays to show solidarity, or go to to find a calendar with 30 different ideas of how you can get involved – one for each day in September! You don’t have to be an adult to get involved. We even have a version for specifically for kids so they can become hunger helpers!

The AT&T Pioneers Dish It Up: Feeding Families Healthy Food

In celebration of the AT&T Pioneers’ 100 years of service, volunteerism and philanthropy, Pioneers are joining together for one of the biggest volunteer efforts in history. Pioneers Dish It Up aims to feed one million people across the U.S. and Canada who face the daily challenge of “food insecurity”.

Between September 11th and 25th, the Pioneers will be addressing the issue of hunger by participating in the Pioneers Dish It Up project, which includes a healthy food drive, as well as other service projects aimed at feeding the hungry.

In partnership with Feeding America and its network of member food banks, a list of healthy food donations has been compiled to guide those who will be participating in the food drive. This project is just the latest effort by our local AT&T Pioneers of the George S. Ladd Council to support the Food Bank and our mission.


How Do You Spell HELP?

I spell it 2 1 1. Did you know that if you need help in the Bay Area, you just need to dial 211 on your phone. 211 is a toll-free, three-digit phone number to call 24 hours a day for information about local health and social services. It enables people to find out about valuable resources in their community quickly and easily.

211 logoI may not need to call 211 but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t know how important 211 is. I always mention 211 to others so they will pass it on and those they tell will pass it on. You never know when you will meet someone who needs information about disability services, alcohol and drug abuse services, dental care, health insurance, rental assistance, child care, legal aid, senior services and so many other types of assistance. I only need to know one phone number for help. There are trained people answering the calls who will provide the information needed – just by dialing three numbers 2 1 1. And no matter what language you speak, there is someone on the other end that can speak your language to make help even more accessible.

Now, how do YOU spell HELP?  2 1 1, which means help is just a phone call away. Let’s all make sure we share this number!

Help Your Community, Help Your Food Bank!

Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek have upcoming Community Service Days where residents come together for one day to make a difference. We are fortunate to be a part of both of these days with a neighborhood food drive as one of their community projects. Pleasant Hill is hosting its 7th annual Community Service Day on Saturday September 24th and Walnut Creek is hosting its 1st annual Community Service Day on Saturday October 1st.

The Neighborhood Food Drive Project is fun and will help provide food at a slow time for us. You can do this as an individual or as a group. We provide new paper bags, you create a flyer (we have some samples), you attach your flyers to the bags, and you place the bag/flyer on your neighbors’ doorsteps 3 to 7 days in advance. Then on Community Service Day (9/24 or 10/1), you go back to the houses where you left bags and see all of the bags of food waiting for you. Gather up the bags of food and bring them back to the park where Food Bank staff will be waiting for you. It is as easy as that and very rewarding as you know you are helping others receive the food they need. We will weigh your food at the Food Bank and then send you a thank you letter stating how much you collected. Everything you collect will be more food than we had before and add smiles to many people in our community (and will especially add a smile to you).

This is a great project for youth groups, scouts, and church groups; in fact it is a great project for everyone! To sign up or for more information, visit

It Is Holiday Food Drive Time!

As we approach the end of August, the volume of food drive food we have to sort/box and distribute is greatly reduced. We always worry that we will have to cancel volunteer groups in September and October. But more importantly, is the question “Will we have the variety and volume of nonperishable food we need to feed our community”?

Along comes mid-September and the requests for holiday barrels. The phones start ringing, the emails and faxes starting arriving and we start working fast and furious. Yes, we do look forward to the holidays every year. When you look at August and see all of our barrels in the racks and then you look at November and December and all of the barrels are full just waiting to be sorted and the food distributed, you know your hard work was all worth it! We receive many thank you notes from those we help and to read the letters and go to a food distribution and see the smiles is the confirmation that we as a community are making a difference and ARE “Working to end hunger”.

August 2011

What we wish for every holiday season













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

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is Taking Action!

September is Hunger Action Month. The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano joins with Feeding America food banks across the country and our partner hunger relief agencies to ask everyone to play a role in fighting domestic hunger.

Hunger Action MonthHunger affects communities all across the country-rural, urban, and suburban. Right here in Contra Costa and Solano counties, 1 in 6 of our neighbors struggle with hunger. The problem is closer than you think, but so is the solution.

Throughout the campaign, the Food Bank will call on you to take action. In addition, we’ve teamed up with celebrities to tell the real stories of those struggling with hunger.

Watch Matt Damon tell his story at Share the video with your friends and family. Get involved by learning local hunger statistics and downloading the Food Bank’s 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar, to find daily ways to make a difference. One of the ways you can help is by organize a neighborhood food drive, but be sure to check in with the Food Bank to determine what their needs truly are! Email Joan at You can also invite us to speak to the next meeting of your service club, or work group. This raises awareness and educates friends and colleagues about hunger in Contra Costa and Solano counties–and what we can do together to end it. To contact us about a speaker, please contact Patty at

We’re working harder every day to assist individuals and their families right here in our community in these tough economic times. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or giving of your time and energy, everyone can play a role in ending hunger during Hunger Action Month.

To learn more about Hunger Action Month, and the work that the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano do all year long, visit

Join us this Hunger Action Month! Together we create a voice for those struggling with hunger in Contra Costa and Solano counties.

Grainger Foundation Helps Hungry Children

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s Food for Children program was recently the beneficiary of a $5000 grant. On July 27, 2011, Board President Stephanie Corona gratefully accepted a check for $5000 from Richard Marquez, a local Branch Manager with the Grainger Foundation. The Food Bank was awarded the grant through the Foundation’s Community Grant Program. The grant requires the money be used to directly provide food assistance to children in need. The Food for Children program provides supplemental nutritional assistance once a month to families with children age 4 to 5 years old who meet the WIC income guideline of 185% of poverty. Since 28% of the Food Bank’s emergency food recipients are children, the Food Bank was delighted to receive this generous support.

The Grainger Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Grainger Inc., one of the leading suppliers of safety and facility maintenance products serving businesses and institutions in North America. They are a strong supporter of local community efforts which address emergency and disaster needs.

Elvis Kicks Off the Sing for Your Supper Series

Campbell Theatre in Martinez was the place to be on August 6th when The Willows Theatre Company, with ESSES Productions, presented the first concert in this year’s Sing for Your Supper concert series to benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

The evening was a musical tribute to the early songs and hits of Elvis Presley performed by the amazing Jim Anderson. His “Early Elvis Tribute Show” impressed us. He sounded just like The King! Jim had the crowd moving in their seats. He worked his way through the crowd singing to the guests up close.

Another great talent was our Food Bank Ambassador, Bob Foskett, who spoke on our behalf.

I can definitely say my first trip to the Campbell Theater was worth it from the intimate setting to the menu and friendly staff. I would encourage you to see a show there soon!

The Food Bank would like to thank Samantha Samuels and Steven Shore for putting on an amazing show as always as well as David Faustina from The Willows Theatre Company, Walnut Creek Marriott for sponsoring the series. Applause also to Jim Anderson for the best show I have seen in a long time and to Bob Foskett for his support.

For information on the next Sing for Your Supper event and other Food Bank events, visit our events page.