Author Archive

Joan

Public Works to Provide Food

public works

The Contra Costa County Public Works Department decided to host a food and money drive to help the Food Bank kick off the summer – a time when need is high, but donated food runs low. This county department collects money for the Food Bank during the holidays but they feel it is important to collect food and money at other times of the year. Congratulations on a fantastic drive of 463 pounds of food and over $1,300 which equates to 3,010 meals!

Pro Wrestlers Body Slam Hunger

On Saturday , June 8, I attended a Devil Mountain Wrestling event and food drive. Devil Mountain Wrestling, LLC is a Northern California based pro wrestling promotion  dedicated to bringing its fans the most exciting wrestling action while maintaining a family friendly atmosphere. Once a month Devil Mountain Wrestling holds an exciting live Pro Wrestling event and food drive at the Boy and  Girls Club in Martinez. Devil Mountain Wrestling offers a $3 discount on adult tickets, for every (2) canned food items donated. Since they started in March of 2011, they have collected a fantastic 1,163 pounds of food!

Not since I was a child had I watched pro wrestling, but I must say it was fun, action packed and a great group of fans! The venue seats about 100 people so you really feel like you are a part of the action. The wrestlers really enjoy entertaining the crowd of all ages. One woman even celebrated her birthday party at the event.

The next shows are Saturday 7/13 at 7pm and Saturday 8/10 at 7pm. Make sure you bring 2 cans of food for each person to receive a discount and to help the Food Bank. Bring the family and friends for a great evening of entertainment. I know I won’t miss it! For more information see their website www.devilmountainwrestling.com.

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!

 

Trick or Treat for Food!

For the second year, Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery challenged 7 teams of Concord High School students to go door to door on Halloween night collecting food and money for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano for the Tesoro 2nd Annual Scare Away Hunger food drive. The teams of 12 students represented Cheer, Choir, Football, Leadership, Music, Soccer, and Softball. Several days before Halloween, the students delivered paper bags to their designated neighborhoods in hopes of increasing donations and thus winning bragging rights. Of course the real winners are those we serve in the community. The grand total was 10,256 pounds of food (3,600 pounds more than last year) and $1,162.05 plus a $1,000 donation from an individual who wanted to do more with their money when they heard that Tesoro would match the pounds/money up to $5,000 for the Food Bank and an additional $5,000 to the Concord High School programs.

The winning team for the food collection was Music with 2,184 pounds of food. The winning team for the money collection was Softball with $323.56. The best surprise of the evening was when a film crew from ABC7 with anchor Alan Wong showed up to film the event. Alan Wong said he thought this was a very creative way to collect food and money for the Food Bank, to involve the students in a fun and rewarding community project and to allow the community to be a part of something good.

 Thank you to Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery for sponsoring the event for a 2nd year. Thank you Ken Dami for your leadership. Thank you Principal Gary McAdam of Concord High for your leadership and getting your fantastic teachers and students involved again. Thank you students for volunteering as a team and making the 2nd year so successful. Thank you community for giving and helping those in need. Did we Scare Away Hunger? I think we did and we will do it again every Halloween until it is gone for good.

The Little Pink Bike That Could

Although we only request donations of food or funds, sometimes non-food donations make their way into our warehouse.  A nice, pink bike cruised into our Concord warehouse this year and left to find a happy home.

Saturday 9/22 was Pleasant Hill’s Community Service Day. For 8 years, the Pleasant Hill Police, Boy Scouts and local bicycle repair shops have joined together to repair/refurbish bicycles to go to children/youth in the foster care system in conjunction with the nonprofit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). On Saturday, we delivered a tricycle, a bike in a box needing to be built and the pink bicycle. It turns out that all the pink bicycle needed was a technician to adjust the brakes. Sport Chalet staff had the bike ready to go in less than 10 minutes. Once the repaired bikes were ready they stood on one side of the park waiting for the children/youth to stop by.

From a distance, I saw a tall girl checking out the pink bike. The girl who is 13 and stands at least 5 foot 7 inches tall, goes to Carquinez Middle School. Her foster mother said she is growing so fast that her old bike doesn’t fit her and it is quite old and beat up. The girl rode the bike for a few seconds and thought it might be the one. I told her I was from the Food Bank and the bike came from Target and had never been owned by anyone else. She would be the original owner. All it needed was a quick fixing of the brakes but Target chose to give it to us instead. You could see the girl’s face light up when she found out she was the first owner of this bike. She then rode the bike around the park wearing the biggest smile you could imagine. The CASA representative told me this young girl rarely smiles and rarely has received anything new, so this pink bicycle was going to be very special to her and she would never forget the Food Bank for bringing it to the park for her. The foster mother had tears in her eyes as she watched the girl ride around and around never wanting to get off her new pink bike.

Adding Community to Service

The cities of Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek rally the community to get involved at their annual Community Service Days. Pleasant Hill is hosting their 8th annual Community Service Day on 9/22 and Walnut Creek is hosting their 2nd annual Community Service Day on 10/6. There are many projects benefitting the nonprofits and schools in these cities.

We invite you to join the Food Bank team in conducting a neighborhood food drive. We supply the bags and flyers, you engage your neighbors/friends, you pick up and deliver their food donations to our Food Bank truck at the park. This is a great project for youth of all ages, groups, individuals and families.

Sign up on the City of Pleasant Hill’s website.
Sign up on the City of Walnut Creek’s Website.

Kiewit Builds Community

Kiewit is one of the largest and most respected construction and mining organizations in North America. At Kiewit, their motto is “We build quality projects safely, on time and on budget; no matter how large or small”. Kiewit brings their motto to the Food Bank, supporting us in many ways – no matter how large or small!

With the Kiewit Infrastructure West office located in Fairfield and the Marsh Landing Generation Station Power Plant in Antioch we receive support not only through holiday and summer food drives, a virtual food drive and a sponsorship for our Admiral’s Garden fundraising event, but we also host a group of strong and dedicated Kiewit volunteers on the second Tuesday evening of every month in our Concord warehouse. At the end of the two hour shift, the Kiewit employees are happily exhausted and we have hundreds of boxes of food or produce ready to go out to people in our community! Kiewit employees believe in giving locally and supporting their community. Thanks Kiewit and Kiewit employees for all you do for our Solano County and Contra Costa County communities!

Building Community, Sharing Food

During the summer months, many think of sun, vacation and playtime, but at the Food Bank we are thinking of ways to meet the ongoing need for food in our community. Food drives are an important part of the food we provide, but during the summer, food donations are dramatically down compared to during the holiday season. In an exciting new effort to bring in a steady supply of food all year, we are embarking on a new project called the Contra Costa & Solano Food Project (CCSFP).

The Food Project is a donor drive, not a traditional food drive. Rather than asking for one-time contributions of food, volunteers enlist their neighbors to become long-term food donors. People commit to giving a small amount of food every two months, which provides our Food Bank with a year-round supply of food and provides the donors with the ongoing satisfaction of making a real difference.

Our key volunteers to the CCSFP are the Neighborhood Coordinators that enroll their neighborhood often asking friends and acquaintances that live close by. The Neighborhood Coordinators (NCs) can choose to involve a few houses, a whole street, or several blocks. The Food Project begins when the NC takes a supply of information cards and green Food Project bags to neighbors to explain the program and invites them to join in helping to provide food for hungry people in their community (we’ll show you how!).

The Food Project was created in January 2009, by a small group of Ashland, Oregon residents. They realized that many of their neighbors wanted to help fight hunger in their community, so they created a simple, door-to-door food collection system to make it easy for everyone to participate. They had three goals:

1. To provide a regular supply of food that would help feed hungry neighbors all year round.

2. To create new neighborhood connections and strengthen their community

3. To serve as a model for other communities

The volunteers promised to stop by their selected neighborhood homes every 2 months, pick up the food and take it directly to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. The project started with a core group of 10 volunteers picking up food and netted 600 pounds of food. One year later, there were over 150 Neighborhood Coordinators. By December 2010, the collection was over 28,000 lbs in one day! And this quantity of food still comes in on the 2nd Saturday of every other month.

It is now our turn to join in the Food Project movement as it spreads into California and soon across the nation. The Contra Costa & Solano Food Project needs you to make this grassroots effort a success. Whether you’re interested in donating food, collecting it, or helping build community in other ways, we invite you to join us as we form our neighborhoods for our first pickup day of August 11th. Learn more and get started by filling out a contact form on the Food Project website, or call Joan Tomasini at 925.676.7543, extension 208 or email jtomasini@foodbankccs.org. Together we are building community by sharing food!

Rethinking Summer Food Drives

Summer is traditionally a slow time for food drives. You might ask why? Many food drives are driven by students of all ages and without school, there goes our captive audience (and a huge CAN DO audience). Many of us think of hunger when the weather is cold and during the traditional giving time of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when we hear of many organizations and people that need help. During the summer months we think of sun and vacation and the things we personally need to do. For us at the Food Bank and the food pantries we work with, hunger is a year round concern. The faces of hunger may change throughout the year but the faces are there no matter what day of the year, no matter what type of weather or what type of news that day. Hunger is hunger no matter what month it is.

Last summer between June through October, we brought in 82,000 pounds in food drive versus over six hundred thousand pounds of food drive from October through December. Food drive is an important part of the food we need. We are fortunate to have barrels in over 100 businesses/churches throughout the year but we need more of that and a steady stream of food.

We are embarking on a solution that will help us receive more food drive throughout the year. It is called the Contra Costa & Solano Food Project and relies on people like you to be a part of this exciting community undertaking. Stay tuned for more on the CCS Food Project, coming soon!

Rancho Solano Thanksgiving in June Food Drive

For 12 years, the gated community of Rancho Solano in Fairfield has hosted a Thanksgiving Food Drive. What makes their food drive different is that it is held in June, at a time when we need food for the summer months. The process is fun and easy. We met our coordinator, Dorothy Flynn, at 5:30am (so we could have the barrels out for the residents to drop off their bags of food on the way to work) to deliver and place the barrels throughout the community.

 

Dorothy and her committee publicized the food drive through their community newsletter, signs up throughout the community and also a flyer/paper bag on their doorstep a few days before the drive. All the residents have to do is fill up the bag and when they are on their way to work or run errands, just drop the bag in a barrel which is at the front of their street. Our Food Bank truck comes by several times to pick up the food and replace the full barrels. It is that easy. This year, the Rancho Solano residents donated a fantastic 2,701 pounds of food for our Solano County neighbors in need. Thank you Rancho Solano for your wonderful Thanksgiving in June Food Drive! Would you like to have your neighborhood or gated community host a Thanksgiving in June Food Drive (or in July or August)? Just give us a call!