Guest post by Ambassador Laura Collins: “How was your day?” Do you ever get asked that question? Typically we answer with a simple “fine” or “great”, believing that it is just a courtesy question anyway.
Well on June 5 when asked that question, I did say “great”, but I also felt it was important to follow up with why it was great. I spent my lunch time at the Concord warehouse of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano with a roomful of dedicated hunger fighters! As part of the Food Bank’s ambassador program, each of the people there have represented the Food Bank at community events, helped coordinate food drives, volunteered at distribution sites, done outreach to the community for Calfresh (SNAP, formerly Food Stamp Program), helped with fundraisers, and networked at Chamber of Commerce events. Our goal is to educate our community on hunger issues, promote awareness and to also dispel myths concerning those receiving food assistance. By the way, did you know that 1 in 4 emergency food recipients are children? And over 35% of our clients had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage? (Once an ambassador you can’t pass up any opportunity to slip in a few quick facts!)
Along with the ambassadors, Food Bank staff was on hand also, to cheer us on and inspire us to continue our outreach. As we introduced ourselves many ambassadors, like myself, credited outreach coordinator Patty McDowell with spearheading our efforts to get us out there in the public eye. Coordinating with the community and other staff members Patty leads the ambassador program and is always on the lookout for more recruits! (Hint, Hint)
Executive Director Larry Sly was there to speak about the future of the Food Bank, and I have to say, he was on fire! After 36 years with the Food Bank he is still passionate about the mission, if not more. His goal is to make nutritious food more accessible to the people who need it. He was very excited to tell us about the new Community Produce Program. Thanks to generous support from donors in our community, the Food Bank is able to purchase a beverage-style truck complete with canopies and side doors that open up, for the purpose of delivering fresh produce to communities in need. It’s simple and effective and families go home with fresh produce such as pears, oranges, apples, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and carrots. Fresh, nutritious food that they may not have been able to put on their family’s table otherwise. Larry wants the Food Bank to work as smart and as efficient as possible, and he thanked us for getting our communities involved through volunteering, donating and advocating.
As I looked around the room, I saw vital, busy people, several working full time, that still find time to care about their community and try to make a difference. Just like them, I came to the Food Bank hoping to lend my skills to help in a meaningful way, and along the way I found that our community is clearly excited and eager to see us succeed.
So, how was your day?