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West Contra Costa and Solano Produce Sites Needed

Our Community Produce Program is expanding into West Contra Costa and Solano counties come early 2013.  This program provides free produce to low income individuals and families.  The Food Bank will distribute fresh fruits and vegetables directly off of a beverage-style truck at one hour distributions throughout the region.  We are currently looking for community organizations to partner with in these areas.  Some factors we must consider are:

  • Is the organization in a high-need area?
  • Is there a good-sized and well-lit parking lot?
  • Will the organization provide volunteers during the one hour distribution?
  • Will the organization aid in publicizing the program?

If you think that your organization would be a good match, fill out the form below and we will contact you shortly.

Holiday Program Highlight

Throughout the year, the Food Bank provides its’ member agencies (soup kitchens, pantries, group homes, etc.) with 480,000 pounds per month of free food. Each holiday season, we are delighted to provide even more assistance.

In order to reach our goal of the 160,000 additional pounds the Food Bank hopes to distribute this holiday season, we have purchased 1,700 cases of food and worked to get extra produce. In addition, food drives, donations, and Merrill Lynch’s holiday boxes will bring us to our goal. This year, we have partnered with around 100 nonprofits located throughout Contra Costa and Solano Counties who are coordinating either holiday meals or holiday basket distributions.

We bolster these special holiday distributions by providing turkeys, gift certificates, produce, and food boxes. In addition, we will be distributing 3,000 $15 gift certificates for the purchase of turkeys. In all, we expect to help provide 6,000 holiday meals and 22,000 holiday food baskets.

None of this would be possible without the generosity of the people in the communities we serve. Thank you to all who support our mission. Happy holidays.

A Unique Distribution

As an Agency Relations Coordinator, I get to visit with the people who run the pantries and soup kitchens throughout our counties.  Though they all share the same mission, each one is completely unique.  I’m often impressed with the new ideas and inventive ways of solving problems that I see.

This particular morning, I went out to Vallejo Seventh Day Adventist.  The pantry is run by Lynda and Larry Leach.  Each aspect of the client’s situation is considered and each need is anticipated.  In the back room are shelves of various clothing, toiletries, infant products, and shoes.  Each item is separated into subcategories according to gender and then size.  One room is exclusively used for items a homeless individual might need:  sleeping bags, blankets, and toiletry kits.  Even disaster kits are stacked high in crates just in case.

As for the food giveaway, the expert flow could only have been achieved by years of experience.  A bench and awning shelter the clients while they wait, a television greets children with something to their liking, and the food is set out like a store for clients to choose what they want.  This type of agency is aptly called a “choice pantry”.  The great part about this type of system is that the clients only take what they will actually eat, minimizing waste.

Philanthropic Yoga Class

More and more people and businesses are finding creative ways to benefit the Food Bank.  Sometimes shaking things up pays off in a big way.

Yogaworks On the second floor of an industrial, concrete and metal building awaits an oasis:  yogaworks.  Angie Norwood and Colleen Millen, two certified yoga instructors, threw a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano aptly named, “Celebrate Your Life, Honor Another.” The philanthropic yoga class took place on Saturday, November 6th from noon to 1:30.  Myself and two other staff members from the Food Bank made our way on a lazy Saturday to downtown Walnut Creek with the intention of donating some food and brushing up on our downward facing dog.  We left feeling loose and relaxed, all stiffness and soreness curiously absent.  Each of us learned a new technique (or two), received a truly enlightening Savasana, and were blown away by the generosity of the attendees.  Many yogis brought more than the three required food items for admission.  Collectively, yogaworks raised a total of 169 pounds of donated food!  Many families will benefit from this generous giving. This is one more creative way to raise food.


Cassie Brislain, Agency Relations Coordinator