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Archive for October, 2011

Governor Signs Bills to Help Fight Hunger

Governor Brown has signed a number of bills that will help improve access to the CalFresh program and reduce hunger in California. Anti-hunger advocates have much to celebrate this year, as legislation signed by the Governor will finally end fingerprint imaging in the CalFresh program — a change we have championed for almost a decade.

Governor Brown also signed AB 152, the bill the California Association of Food Banks sponsored to create a tax credit for crop donations and the framework for a state emergency food assistance program. A summary of hunger-related bills signed or vetoed by Governor Brown is listed below.

Bills Signed by Governor Brown

AB 6 (Fuentes) – ends fingerprint imaging in CalFresh; moves CalFresh and CalWORKs from quarterly to simplified semi-annual reporting; creates “heat & eat” initiative to streamline paperwork and increase benefits for a significant number of households.

AB 69 (Beall) – allows counties to utilize Social Security information to facilitate and streamline senior enrollment in CalFresh.

AB 152 (Fuentes) – creates a tax credit for fresh fruits and vegetables donated by California growers to California food banks; creates the framework for a state emergency food assistance program.

AB 402 (Skinner) – authorizes school districts to work with county social services agencies to develop a fast track from a free or reduced-price school meal program application to a CalFresh program application.

AB 581 (Pérez) – creates the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative to expand access to healthy foods in underserved communities.

AB 959 (Jones) – aligns CalWORKs reporting requirements with CalFresh and Medi-Cal by allowing aid to be reinstated if a report is submitted within 30 days of the due date.

SB 43 (Liu) – removes mandatory employment and training requirements in the CalFresh program when the state or sub-region is federally determined to have a work surplus (high unemployment).

Bills Vetoed by Governor Brown

AB 1182 (Hernández) – would have excluded the value of a vehicle when determining eligibility for the CalWORKs program, a procedure already implemented in the CalFresh program.

For more information about these bills or how you can help take action against hunger, please contact me (Lisa Sherrill) at (925) 676-7543 extension 206 or lsherrill@foodbankccs.org.

Stories from the Creek, Part 1

Guest post by John VanLandingham, Food Bank volunteer: Every month, approximately 100 people appear at St.Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek to receive free food distributions from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano counties. Many of those are collecting for more than one person. Here are some of their stories.

 “I’m here because of low old-age pension. Every year my costs go up.”

Thaddeus, 90, Pleasant Hill

Thaddeus waited at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s parking lot in Walnut Creek for a friend while holding a couple of bags full of groceries. His bags contained fresh fruit, meat, bread, canned goods and some other staples this month.

Thaddeus was among the approximately 110 persons receiving food donations from Contra Costa-Solano Food Bank volunteers, many of them elderly, some disabled.

“Thaddeus is my biblical name. I speak French, German, Italian, Russian,” he said with an accent lingering from the five years he says he lived in France.

The 90-year-old former translator (who says he can read many literary classics in their original language) has been coming to the monthly Food Bank distribution for about six months.

“I lost my job at 65,” the Pleasant Hill resident said. “I’m here because of low old-age pension. Every year my costs are going up. Now I don’t have enough money for food and my living expenses. When you get old, they don’t care any more. It’s very cruel,” he said as he gave one of his bags of food to his friend who came to help.

Thaddeus explained that he does live with a family in Pleasant Hill.

For more information on our programs and services, please visit the Give Help page of our website.

KGO Fights Hunger

During the week leading up to September 16th, food banks across 9 Bay Area counties were thrilled at the chance to share our mission to end domestic hunger with the audience of KGO Newstalk 810 AM, San Francisco.

In the weeks leading up to the September 16th radiothon to fight hunger, KGO broadcast interviews with Food Bank clients, employees and executive directors. Listeners heard touching stories like the mother who gave up her only meal for the day because her daughter was still hungry and the impact food banks have on communities in need (listen to recorded interviews here). As Food Bank employees, we were also humbled to be reminded of why we go to work every day.

Generous listeners have donated almost $200,000 to date, spread out among the participating food banks, with over $26,000 for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. With more checks still coming in we are calling this radiothon a big success. Thank you to KGO 810 AM for giving our clients a voice, and to all the participants who spoke so well on behalf of the hungry in the Bay Area.

Listen to the KGO interviews of Food Bank clients and staff here.

Jeffery Schaub of KGO and Marla Williams, working to feed her family.

September Events Recap

September was full of fun events that people enjoyed while supporting the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Our Special Events Manager, Renee, tells you all about them. For more information on these events or future events, please visit the events page of our website.

It was a gorgeous Sunday at Winterhawk Winery on September 4th where we were invited to spend the day and share about our Food Bank. The winery was filled with people who came out to support us while enjoying the wine and music. The band (Coast to Coast) had the crowd off their feet and dancing to their favorite songs. The guests were able to visit a few vendors to check out plants and jewelry from local vendors such as Boucher Plants, Alptowne  Accents and Pat’s Purple Geranium. Our raffle was a hit with a signed Brian (Bearded) Wilson baseball and other great prizes. Thanks to Winterhawk for donating a portion of the wine sales to our food bank.

KGO Newstalk 810 joined forces with Bay Area Food Banks to fight hunger on Friday, September 16th with a live radio event dedicated to raising awareness and much needed funds for local food banks in all nine Bay Area counties. This one day event was a huge success helping us to share our stories and mission to so many people in our community as well as raising much needed monetary donations for our neighbors in need.

Contra Costa Builders Exchange hosted their Annual Golf Tournament benefitting our Food Bank. It was warm and sunny for golfers on September 23rd at Shadow Lakes Golf Club in Brentwood. Over 70 golfers played the course the rewarded themselves with an evening of dinner, raffle and awards. CCBX as well as the staff of Shadow Lakes Golf Club made the day a memorable one.

The Willows Theatre Company put on another wonderful Sing for Your Supper event on Saturday September 24th. J’LaChic had the whole place out of their seats and on their feet dancing to the music of Motown. Many thanks to Esses Productions and Willows Theatre Company for putting together a great event. In case you missed it: The final Sing for Your Supper of the series will be held on Nov. 5th.

Our local refineries (Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery, Shell Oil Products US, Valero Benicia Refinery and ConocoPhillips) as well as S&S held a food drive beginning August 1st and ending with a 10 year anniversary celebration fundraiser on September 17th. The 10th Year Anniversary started at the Food Bank with motorcycle run ending at the Shell Clubhouse raising much needed funds for our upcoming holidays. It was a great day filled with food, music, raffle and fun. Their continued support has made a huge difference in helping us help our community.