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Archive for August, 2013

El Cerrito Neighborhood Takes on Hunger one Green Bag at a Time

By Neil Zarchin, Food Bank Grants Coordinator: The Neighborhood Food Project was launched in Ashland, Oregon in 2009, and has since expanded to many parts of the country.

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is one of the first Food Banks to adapt the program to a county-wide operation rather than to support just one food pantry.  Our Neighborhood Food Project is a donor drive more than a food drive because instead of asking for one-time contributions of food, our volunteer Neighborhood Coordinators enlist their neighbors to become long-term Food Donors by leaving a bag of food on their porches for pickup every two months.  Here’s the story of a new Neighborhood Food Project in West Contra Costa County that is following the classic Ashland model  and doing a great job!

In February 2013, residents of a quiet corner of El Cerrito in West Contra Costa County decided to be among the first to participate.  A neighborhood organization already existed, so when the idea was proposed the infrastructure for the project was already in place. There is some concern for privacy, so the neighborhood won’t be named.

The idea was first brought up at a Holiday block party. Having already used the neighborhood email list to promote the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, it was an easy step to transfer to the protocol of the NFP.

An email asking for a Neighborhood Coordinator went out to neighbors on the email group list and Dee, stepped up to the task.  She received training and the necessary materials from the Food Bank and then in March, she sent out an email to the group of neighbors explaining the incredibly easy program of neighbors leaving a bag of food on their porches every two months for Dee to collect for the Food Bank.  As each household emailed her to join , she left an empty, reusable Food Project bag on their porch containing extra informational flyers to give out to other neighbors who might not be in the email group. By the Pickup Day in April, a dozen families had already enrolled for their area’s inaugural collection. All twelve families who signed up participated (a couple of reminder emails were sent) and a 100% collection participation was achieved!

On the first pickup on Saturday, April 13th , as Dee walked the neighborhood collecting the bags from her neighbors’ porches in her radio flyer wagon, a few more neighbors approached her and she signed them up on the spot for the next Pickup Day in mid-June.  The neighborhood area also expanded from the one major street to neighbors living on adjacent streets.  By the second pick up, the number of food donors almost doubled! And even though one family forgot to put out their bag on that June morning (Dee did collect it later), another gentleman seeing her pulling a little red wagon filled with green bags of food down his street, not only stopped her to sign up for the next collection in mid-August, but also spontaneously took the empty food bank bag given him for the next collection, ran into his house shortly reemerging with his bag of food donation for that morning’s collection too.

And of course as the number of neighbors sign up and participate, the amount of food donated by her neighborhood, collected and delivered to the Contra Costa food by Dee, is increasing. She takes a few pictures of their food collection as it’s received by Joan Tomasini at the Food Bank warehouse on Pickup Days and emails them along with thanks to her amazing neighbors and they are gratified to know and see that they are helping so much to provide healthy food for people in need on a regular basis.

Just imagine how much food the hungry could have if every neighborhood did what these folks do.  As Dee, says, who knew that giving needed food donations on a regular bi-monthly neighborhood donor system could be so easy and be such a source of satisfaction and pleasure for all involved.

One more thing – the first collection back in April was 173 lbs., June was 243, August up to 314 – great progress!!

To join the Food Project or learn more, visit www.ccsfoodproject.org.

CALLING ALL ARTISTS!

SUBMIT YOUR DESIGN FOR A CHANCE TO BE FEATURED ON A FOOD BANK TOTE BAG

Nourishing the Community Artwork sample from Alameda County Community Food Bank

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is looking for original artwork that will be used to create custom eco-friendly tote bags. The tote bags will be used to generate funds that support our services for people in need.

WHO: Anyone may submit artwork in the contest. Enter as often as you wish. The winning entries will be selected by a panel of Food Bank staff members and announced by September 16, 2013.

WHAT: Artwork with a Nourish Our Community theme.

SPECIFICATIONS: Artwork should be 14” wide x 15” tall. If you submit your artwork electronically, .EPS format is best, but a high-resolution JPG is acceptable. You may also mail the original artwork to the Food Bank.

WHEN: Entries may be submitted between now and September 10, 2013. With each submission, please include your name, email address and phone number.

WHERE:
• email entries to rbraver@foodbankccs.org
• mail entries to “Tote Bag Design Contest”, c/o Rachel Braver, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, 4010 Nelson Ave. Concord, CA 94520

All tote bag art entries shall become the property of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and may be reproduced for publication, sale, and/or promotion of the Food Bank.

PRIZES:
• Your artwork featured on the front of thousands of Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s tote bags in 2013-2014.

• Two bags (including your design) when they are printed.

• Prize of $250 

CONTEST RULES:

  1. Artwork must be original, entirely the work of the entrant and not in violation of any copyrights. Computer-generated art is accepted.
  2. We are looking for a fun and whimsical design relating to nutrition. Some ideas to help inspire you can be found here: http://bit.ly/178T85o and here: http://bit.ly/13LE7tc.
  3. You may use the Food Bank logo or our colors in your design but this is NOT required. http://www.foodbankccs.org/media-center/logos.html
  4. Black and white or full color is fine. Also full-bleed is available.
  5. The Food Bank reserves the right to design the side panels of the bag and the bottom as well as include sponsor logo in that space.
  6. All art entries shall become the property of the Food Bank, and may be reproduced for publication, sale, and/or promotion of the Food Bank. The Food Bank may also modify the design slightly, eg add our logo.
  7. Entries must be received at the Food Bank by 4:00 pm September 10, 2013.
  8. Winners will be notified by September 16.

ADDITIONAL IDEAS:

Use a fun saying like: “Give peas a chance”, “Veggies Rock!” (vegetable band), “Peace, Love & Veggies”