Archive for December, 2012

Helping Put Healthy Food on the Table

Juan Orozco teamed up with Liliana Sandoval from the San Francisco and Marin Food Bank

By Juan Orozco, CalFresh Outreach Coordinator for Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano: In an effort to educate and raise public awareness about CalFresh, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is partnering with other Bay Area food banks to provide CalFresh Outreach at the San Francisco Mexican Consulate.  The goal is to increase participation in federal food assistance programs, thereby helping to reduce food insecurity for people struggling to make ends meet.  Studies have shown one of the primary reasons why low–income households who qualify for CalFresh are not participating in the program is lack of eligibility information.  In collaboration with the San Francisco Mexican Consulate we hope that we can encourage more legal immigrants to apply for the nutrition benefits of CalFresh.  CalFresh helps millions of Americans in need to put nutritious food on their table.

If you would like to learn more about CalFresh eligibility or need assistance with the application process, please visit

Just 10 Days to Maximize Your 2012 Charitable Contributions!

Remember that all your contributions and donations to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano are tax deductible.  Take advantage of this before the end of the year and you will be able to claim your deduction in your next tax filing.  Your support during the holidays allows us to provide food year-round.

Please send your contributions to: Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, either by mail (PO Box 6324, Concord, CA 94524) or use the orange Donate button on our home page.  Thank you and Happy Holidays from the staff, Board and thousands of clients of the Food Bank!

For the added convenience of our donors, we will be open to accept donations on 12/31 from 8 am -4 pm. Join us for holiday treats at both of our warehouses.


Neighbors Encourage Each Other to Share

Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: Solano and Contra Costa counties both have “closed communities” — areas where homes are behind gated access points. Because there are a limited number of entry points, these housing areas provide additional security to the residents.

Several years ago, supporters of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano who live in these closed communities realized that the gates also presented them with an opportunity to persuade their neighbors to become donors.

In the Rancho Solano community in Fairfield, we found people who were willing to organize a food drive on our behalf. We provided them with printed food drive bags and they stapled flyers to the bags that made them stand out as part of the Rancho Solano food drive.

People went door-to-door distributing these bags to their neighbors, giving them a chance to talk about the Food Bank and the drive they had organized.

On the day of the drive, the Food Bank provided collection barrels and we brought a bobtail truck. As people went to work in the morning, or returned home at night, they went through the gates where their neighbors stood, encouraging them to donate food or money.

Now these food drives raise thousands of pounds of food and significant financial donations. The Rancho Solano drive is part of a larger effort in communities throughout Solano and Contra Costa Counties.

The Food Bank’s work is based on people sharing with others. I am convinced that people are willing to help others in need if they can see how to make it happen. In the closed-community drives the Food Bank organizes, people are reaching out to their neighbors so they can make a difference in the lives of people in need.

The author is executive director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, based in Concord.

Realtors Meeting the Need

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has received support from Contra Costa Realtors in Motion and the San Ramon Realtors Marketing Association for years.  Both these organizations are networking groups for the real estate industry and include realtors, banks, title companies, home staging companies, etc.  These people are very supportive of each other and the industry in which they work.

These groups have also seen their industry in its strong and weak phases.  They know their industry is an excellent indicator of the overall economy.  So like the economy as a whole, things are getting better for them, but they know they are not where they want to be.  This has made an already generous group even more supportive of the Food Bank’s work.  In addition to the support these associations provided to local schools, Toys for Tots and Christmas for Everyone, they recently donated over $8,000 to the Food Bank’s work, in addition to barrels full of nonperishable food.

This generosity is one more example of how people in the community come together to make a difference.  People come together in organizations because of a common interest, but they often look outside to the larger community.  The realty associations help us by stepping forward to make a difference in the community.

Allison’s Birthday Wish – A Barrel Full of Food

Mservice,inc is a long-time supporter of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Allison is the daughter of an Mservice,inc customer and she is also a  Las Lomas High School student making a difference in our community. For her birthday party this year, she asked all guests to donate food instead of gifts. Allison and her mother arrived at Mservice,inc this morning with about ten full grocery bags and a box full of food for the Food Bank collection barrel in the waiting room.

Allison and her friends filled the Mservice,inc food barrel! Thank you Allison and friends, and thank you for helping Mservice,inc reach their goal of 1,000lbs of food!


Food Bank Friend Joins the Farm Bill Committee

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano would like to congratulate Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) on being appointed to serve as a Member of the House Agriculture Committee. Mr. Garamendi, a lifelong rancher and farmer, will join in bicameral negotiations on the farm bill, which could be voted on by the House in December and includes funding for nutrition programs like SNAP/CalFresh.

“One in four American children struggles with hunger. It’s just plain wrong that the wealthiest country in the world does not feed its children,” said Congressman John Garamendi, a Member of the House Agriculture Committee. “Childhood hunger holds back physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Nutrition assistance provides vital help for these children and families literally struggling to put food on the table. Everyone deserves a shot at the American Dream, and that starts with making sure no child or family in America goes to bed hungry.”

You can help! Urge your Members of Congress to stand strong against cuts to hunger-relief programs like SNAP, TEFAP, and WIC and to protect the charitable tax deduction and food donation tax extender.

Calling Congress is easy!  Here’s how:

  • Call using Feeding America’s toll-free hotline at 866-527-1087.
  • Listen to the pre-recorded message and enter your zip code when prompted. Connect to your Senators first.
  • Once you are connected to your first Senator, state that you are a constituent and give your name and the town you are calling from. Be sure to give the name of the Food Bank or local agency you are affiliated with.
  • Let them know you are calling about anti-hunger programs and deliver this important message:

I urge you to oppose cutting SNAP and other hunger-relief programs as part of any deal on the Fiscal Cliff and to continue to protect tax incentives to encourage food and fund donations to food banks.  Cutting programs that put food on the table for hungry Americans is not the way to balance our nation’s budget. 

  • Be sure to repeat the process so that you speak with your Representative and both of your Senators.

For more information about how you can help take action against hunger, please contact me (Lisa Sherrill) at (925) 676-7543 extension 206 or email

BBQ and Competition

Buy a sandwich in honor of your Contra Costa County Probation Department & Contra Costa County Sheriff Department while they fight to win the Counties Care Holiday Food Fight 2012 fundraiser Befitting Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano.

On December 10th, 11th, & 12th 2012 Kinder’s Meats & Deli will donate 15% of your purchase (excluding raw meats).

Valid at 6 following locations:

5411 Lone Tree Way
Ste. 110, Brentwood
(925) 308-7997

1776 Arnold Industrial Way
Ste. Q, Concord
(925) 825-2333

3600 San Pablo Ave.
Ste. 1, Hercules
(510) 724-2332

 2227 Morello Ave.
Pleasant Hill
(925) 798-2333

536 Center Ave.
(925) 957-14001831

Ygnacio Valley Road
Walnut Creek
(925) 952-9393

 ***Must present flyer at time of purchase***

Will Workout for Turkey

Guest post by Laura Collins, Special Events Assistant: For the first time in many years, I did not host Thanksgiving. I didn’t have to prepare dishes days beforehand. I didn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to pull the turkey from the cooler full of brine, or get the deep fryer ready, or pesto rub my free range bird, or do whatever the turkey de jour was for that year. So when I got up that morning, well, I just felt so aimless, I ended up burrowing into my sofa watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade just to feel like it was a holiday. LAME.

I made a promise to myself that I would never do that again, that I would do something to make my Thanksgiving morning meaningful, I mean that’s what it’s all about, right? The 65 people that turned out for Fit 2 the Core’s Turkey Day Workout made it meaningful this year. Talk about burn baby burn! These motivated folks spent their Thanksgiving morning torching calories, boosting their metabolism and put themselves through one hard core workout so that when they sat down to their feast, they earned it! (I just remembered, I did get up a couple of times to get more coffee – that had to burn at least, what, 24 calories??)

Tim and the Crew at Fit to the Core, provided this opportunity to do something healthy for participants, and they also provided the opportunity to make it doubly meaningful by helping others in the community. Anyone could participate that morning, with the gift of a minimum of a $10.00 gift certificate from a local grocery store which would donated to the Food Bank to help put holiday meals and nutritious food on the table of a family in need.

Thanks Tim, Donnie, Megan, Kelley and all who joined in that morning, way to do some serious damage control to hunger! And thanks for inspiring this couch potato, next year I’ll be up and about putting the giving back in Thanksgiving!

If you need motivation over the next year, don’t forget to check out what’s happening at the Food Bank, we always have ways to get involved, if you are already a hunger fighter, share your stories!

Interact Club Decks the Halls

Guest post by Laura Gorecki: The Interact Club at San Ramon Valley High School adjunct of the Rotary of Danville volunteered their time for the benefit of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano by helping decorate one of Danville’s residence home. In the spirit of the holidays we have created a winter wonderland of lights and music. Over 30,000 lights are synchronized with holiday music to create a magical show. Everyone is invited to view the property, sing along, dance in the streets, and if so inclined they can donate non-perishable food in the barrels, located in front of the house, for the Food Bank. The first show starts at 5:30 every evening going in fifteen minute intervals until 9:30pm. The lights will be twinkling and the music will be playing until the end of the holiday season.

San Ramon Valley High School volunteers from left to right: Radhika Tandon, Kellie Kolnes, Jessica Mendez, and Kyle Cuenin.

Brinderson Holiday Event, in support of the Food Bank

Brinderson employees and guests kicked off the holiday season on November 30th with a wonderful evening at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant in Vallejo.  The tradition at Brinderson is to raise money for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano at this annual event, and for Brinderson managers to personally match employee contributions.  Brinderson continues to grow in the Bay Area, and as a result we will be able to deliver a significantly larger contribution to the Food Bank than last year.

Brinderson provides industrial maintenance, construction, turnaround, and engineering services to clients in the western United States.  Our local customers include other strong supporters of the Food Bank, such as Tesoro, Shell, and Phillips 66.  We are proud to team with others in the community and support our local Food Bank.