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Archive for April, 2012

Food From the Bar 21st Annual Fund Drive

Contra Costa County attorneys will once again hold their annual competition to benefit the Food Bank from May 7th thru May 18th. Since its’ inception, this competition has raised more than $891,000 and collected 54 tons of food for hungry area residents. This is a great way for law firms to have fun while collecting food and raising money for the Food Bank. Law firms compete for the highest per capita contribution in their respective categories. Some firms form teams to compete and law offices use a variety of creative fundraising ideas like Bake Sales, Carnival Days, White Elephant Sales, Treasure Hunts, and Eating Contests. The Walnut Creek law firm of Archer Norris will once again organize a Walk-a-Thon around downtown Walnut Creek.

Even better – this year there is a Cyber Competition! You can fight hunger with just a click from your computer! Support your favorite attorney or law firm from the convenience of your home or office by donating online through Contra Costa County Food from the Bar’s Virtual Food Drive! Just go to www.bit.ly/foodfromthebarcc and choose from 10 different food staples, select a quantity and “checkout,” to donate! Select your lawyer or law firm from the Company drop-down menu to see who can donate the most. ! The Food Bank can make your dollar go further. Because of special agreements with manufacturers and buying in large quantities they can purchase at less expensive prices than you find in grocery stores. But make sure your donation is submitted by 4:30pm on May 18th!

A Letter Carrier's Promise to Stamp Out Hunger

Guest post by Raul Carabajal, a letter carrier from Suisun City. The big question… Why do I volunteer for the Letter Carriers Food Drive? It’s all from a promise to my grandfather when I was a young boy. He would come in my bedroom before I would go to sleep and read to me from the Bible. He would put his make-shift wood podium at the foot of my bed, place his Bible on top and read to me until I went to sleep. Sometimes I would ask him questions and he would answer. He told me that if I ever saw someone in need of food, please promise me you would help to feed them, and don’t let them go hungry. I ask my grandfather how I can feed them, I am a little boy? His answer was, you are a little boy, but in large numbers you are a big boy. I then fell asleep as he continued reading.

My grandfather passed away when I was eight years old, while I helped him at the gas station and a mechanic shop he owned. To this day I remember his instruction to help those in need of food, so when I have the chance to be a part of the annual food drive, I happily participate in his honor.

We as a community are much bigger than we are alone. It’s easy to help your hungry neighbors in need by participating in the Letter Carriers Food Drive on Saturday May 12th. Simply leave a bag or box of food by your mailbox and your letter carrier will pick it up then deliver it to the Food Bank. See you on the 12th!

Delta View Elementary Gives from the Heart

Our student council at Delta View Elementary in Pittsburg hosted a “Give from the Heart” Canned Food Drive during the month of February. First, Mr. Sly from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano came to speak to us. He shared how many people need help with getting food these days.  Then we made posters and hung them around the school.  We also told our classes about the food drive. Mrs. Baum, our Principal, made an announcement during her Monday Morning Message. The barrels were delivered to the school and Ray, our custodian, helped us put the barrels around the school.  We were ready!

For first week of the drive we had a great idea – a “Drive-Through” Canned Food Drive. We passed out notes to moms, dads, grandmas, and uncles saying we would be happy to take their donations as they drove through to drop off their children the next morning. The following morning at 7:35 AM we waited with our teachers to collect the food. Some of us held up signs saying “Give from the Heart!” We were excited as bag after bag of food was handed through the car windows and we put them into the barrels. They gave us tuna, soup, tomatoes, and pasta. One mom opened her trunk and it was filled with canned baby food. She brought so much, we nearly filled one barrel just with baby food. In just twenty minutes, we filled three barrels. We had fun doing the drive-through and we were very happy with our filled barrels.

At the end of the month, the barrels were picked up. Then Ms. Tomasini wrote to let us know how much we had collected. We are proud to announce we collected 733 pounds of canned food! That is up from last year’s drive of 695 pounds. We know we have helped people. Delta View Stars showed their stuff. We all truly gave from the heart!

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Student Council Representatives
Advisors – Ms. Banks, Ms. Didion, Ms. Prado, Mrs. Van Tassell
Delta View Elementary, Pittsburg – Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Better Homes Fills the Cupboards

Last year, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Mason-McDuffie in Antioch conducted neighborhood food drives and stood in front of grocery stores to collect over 3,200 pounds of food. This year they were determined to go way above and beyond to collect over 6,000 items for their annual Company Giving Day on Saturday, March 10th.

Melisa Case spearheaded the drive which included some social media campaigning. On February 4th they started with 1 barrel and some paper bags, but with early success, they quickly added 2 barrels and 400 bags on February 21st, then 3 barrels and another 400 bags on February 23rd, and another 7 barrels and more bags on March 1st. Their final delivery meant 10 barrels were needed to collect all the food by only March 6th. Did they reach the 6,000 item mark? YES and every day they counted the incoming donations to keep the momentum going. This picture only shows part of the collection and all of the wonderful Realtors determined to fight hunger. Their slogan should be: Realtors not only show houses, they show they care about the community!

Event Recap – Empty Bowls 2012

The wonderful hand-painted bowls, which each guest takes home, symbolize all of the “empty bowls,” in our communities. This year, bowls were painted by Chevron and Diablo Magazine employees as well as Food Bank staff and volunteers.

Concord guests were treated to opening remarks by Stacy Moffit from Chevron, and Lori Castillo of Aim High Day Care was the featured speaker. Fairfield guests were welcomed by the Food Bank’s Executive Director, Larry Sly.  Larry Leach of Vallejo Seventh Day Adventist Community Services addressed the guests in Fairfield.  There were several raffle prizes as well as musical entertainment. Concord High Jazz Band performed at the Concord event and Crystal Middle School Band entertained at the Fairfield event.

Soup was provided by two of our agencies, Bay Area Rescue Mission and Loaves & Fishes as well as local restaurants (Old Spaghetti Factory, Tony’s, Huckleberry’s, Crepes and More, Sandy’s 101 Omelet’s). Coffee in Concord was donated by Starbucks (Locust Street in Walnut Creek) and Peet’s (Fairfield).

Empty Bowls has become one of the Food Bank’s most popular events and now sells out at the Concord location. This was the first year the event was held at the new Fairfield warehouse and it too was well attended. The agency was fortunate to have this year’s event sponsored by Chevron Corporation, with media coverage provided by CBS5 and Diablo Magazine, and print collateral sponsored by Mathew Rinn of State Farm Insurance.

Tell us your favorite thing about the Empty Bowls event in the comments.

Concord Egg Farmers Help Struggling Families with Donation of 25,920 Eggs

 Despite signs of economic recovery, record numbers of families in our community — and across America — are currently relying on food assistance.  In fact, one in eight Americans will receive help in 2012 from local food banks.  Among the most needed items are sources of high quality protein.

California’s own NuCal Foods donated more than 432,000 eggs to local food banks including a donation of 25,920 eggs to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano to help families struggling with food insecurity.

NuCal Foods’ efforts are part of a national effort, organized by the United Egg Producers and Feeding America.  For the fifth consecutive spring, America’s egg farmers are giving the Easter Bunny and families in need, a helping hand by donating nearly 10 million fresh eggs.  That brings the number of eggs farmers have contributed since 2008 to 60 million — equaling nearly 5 million dozen.

“NuCal Foods farmers are  third and fourth generation family businesses, and we are proud to be partnering with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano to provide much needed protein to the most needy in our community, especially during the Easter holiday season,” said Jim Van Gorkom, VP of Sales and Marketing, of NuCal Foods.

High quality sources of protein, such as eggs, are especially needed and valued at food banks like ours.  According to the USDA, one large egg delivers six grams of protein, along with 13 essential nutrients, including choline, folate, iron and zinc.  After a review of the nutrient composition of standard large eggs last year, USDA concluded that the average amount of cholesterol was 14 percent lower, and vitamin D content was 64 percent higher, than previously measured.

We are grateful to receive such a generous donation from our local egg farmers.  It is a privilege to receive such a protein-rich, highly nutritional food to share with those in need in our community.

What is your favorite egg dish to cook?