Author Archive

Joan

Healthy School Lunches

Well it is day 4 and I still have energy (maybe not as much as normal, but I do). Yesterday was sort of a surprise for me. One of my co-workers was eating a sandwich that looked so good, I almost found myself taking a bite when they walked away from their desk. I am sure they wouldn’t miss the bite and I think I was actually drooling. But I didn’t do it. It reminds me of school lunches we had as children. We all ate the same lunch in the cafeteria (and hardly anyone brought a lunch) and we all enjoyed the same nutritious meal. Yes, today there are free lunches for children, but I have heard it is always a cheese sandwich and if other youth see you eating it, they know you are poor. So is it better to go hungry that day or to have someone make fun of you or not want you in their social circle because you can’t afford lunch? At my age I would say I don’t want that person as my friend if they are so concerned about my wealth. But as children, we want to be liked so I would bet that some children would rather not eat and be liked than eat and not be liked. Teens I know ask me if I were running for President what would be a main focus? I always say that all children/youth in school receive the same nutritious meal (just like I did many, many years ago). Hunger is not fun!

Hunger Pangs

On Monday I found that I drank a lot of water. Not because I was hot but because I was hungry. I hadn’t had time to go to the store so all I had most of the day was water. The water did fill me up and stop the hunger pangs but I kept thinking I am doing this for 5 days. But think about the people who have to drink water many days of the month because there isn’t enough food to last for the month. Especially the children in school. How do they focus, how do they learn? Of course on day one I still had lots of energy. But not so sure how the week will last. And when I did go shopping on Monday I found that I could hardly wait to get in the car and start eating – ANYTHING! Not a good practice but I am sure it mirrors others. I just hope my food lasts the 5 days. I feel a hunger pang – on to some water…

A Letter Carrier's Promise to Stamp Out Hunger

Guest post by Raul Carabajal, a letter carrier from Suisun City. The big question… Why do I volunteer for the Letter Carriers Food Drive? It’s all from a promise to my grandfather when I was a young boy. He would come in my bedroom before I would go to sleep and read to me from the Bible. He would put his make-shift wood podium at the foot of my bed, place his Bible on top and read to me until I went to sleep. Sometimes I would ask him questions and he would answer. He told me that if I ever saw someone in need of food, please promise me you would help to feed them, and don’t let them go hungry. I ask my grandfather how I can feed them, I am a little boy? His answer was, you are a little boy, but in large numbers you are a big boy. I then fell asleep as he continued reading.

My grandfather passed away when I was eight years old, while I helped him at the gas station and a mechanic shop he owned. To this day I remember his instruction to help those in need of food, so when I have the chance to be a part of the annual food drive, I happily participate in his honor.

We as a community are much bigger than we are alone. It’s easy to help your hungry neighbors in need by participating in the Letter Carriers Food Drive on Saturday May 12th. Simply leave a bag or box of food by your mailbox and your letter carrier will pick it up then deliver it to the Food Bank. See you on the 12th!

Delta View Elementary Gives from the Heart

Our student council at Delta View Elementary in Pittsburg hosted a “Give from the Heart” Canned Food Drive during the month of February. First, Mr. Sly from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano came to speak to us. He shared how many people need help with getting food these days.  Then we made posters and hung them around the school.  We also told our classes about the food drive. Mrs. Baum, our Principal, made an announcement during her Monday Morning Message. The barrels were delivered to the school and Ray, our custodian, helped us put the barrels around the school.  We were ready!

For first week of the drive we had a great idea – a “Drive-Through” Canned Food Drive. We passed out notes to moms, dads, grandmas, and uncles saying we would be happy to take their donations as they drove through to drop off their children the next morning. The following morning at 7:35 AM we waited with our teachers to collect the food. Some of us held up signs saying “Give from the Heart!” We were excited as bag after bag of food was handed through the car windows and we put them into the barrels. They gave us tuna, soup, tomatoes, and pasta. One mom opened her trunk and it was filled with canned baby food. She brought so much, we nearly filled one barrel just with baby food. In just twenty minutes, we filled three barrels. We had fun doing the drive-through and we were very happy with our filled barrels.

At the end of the month, the barrels were picked up. Then Ms. Tomasini wrote to let us know how much we had collected. We are proud to announce we collected 733 pounds of canned food! That is up from last year’s drive of 695 pounds. We know we have helped people. Delta View Stars showed their stuff. We all truly gave from the heart!

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Student Council Representatives
Advisors – Ms. Banks, Ms. Didion, Ms. Prado, Mrs. Van Tassell
Delta View Elementary, Pittsburg – Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Better Homes Fills the Cupboards

Last year, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Mason-McDuffie in Antioch conducted neighborhood food drives and stood in front of grocery stores to collect over 3,200 pounds of food. This year they were determined to go way above and beyond to collect over 6,000 items for their annual Company Giving Day on Saturday, March 10th.

Melisa Case spearheaded the drive which included some social media campaigning. On February 4th they started with 1 barrel and some paper bags, but with early success, they quickly added 2 barrels and 400 bags on February 21st, then 3 barrels and another 400 bags on February 23rd, and another 7 barrels and more bags on March 1st. Their final delivery meant 10 barrels were needed to collect all the food by only March 6th. Did they reach the 6,000 item mark? YES and every day they counted the incoming donations to keep the momentum going. This picture only shows part of the collection and all of the wonderful Realtors determined to fight hunger. Their slogan should be: Realtors not only show houses, they show they care about the community!

Stamp Out Hunger

Two years ago the Letter Carriers Food Drive was ready to pass the 1 billion pound mark of food collected across the nation – quite an amazing record. This year May 12th, 2012 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Letter Carriers Food Drive. Our hard-working letter carriers that deliver the mail to us care so much about our community that they work extra hard on the 2nd Saturday in May bringing back all of the food that you in our community left by your mailboxes. In honor of our letter carriers, let’s all leave a bag of nonperishable food by our mailboxes to help our local community and to celebrate 20 years of the Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

We have a population of over 1.4 million people between our two counties. If everyone put 1 can of food out for every person in their household, we would pickup roughly 1.4 million pounds of food in one day. We would need more trucks to help with the pickup, more volunteers at the post offices and then more volunteers through the next several months to help sort/box and distribute the food. What a wonderful problem to imagine and to solve. Please join your letter carrier, the Food Bank and the rest of the community in STAMPING OUT HUNGER on Saturday May 12th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Scouts in Action

We are very fortunate to have so many active Girl Scouts in our two counties who so often think of the Food Bank when having dances or creating a community service project. For example:

Glorietta Elementary School in Orinda just had a father-daughter dance and asked everyone to bring in nonperishable food. Troop #30667 in Danville just held a dance and soon Del Rey Elementary in Orinda and Valle Verde Elementary in Walnut Creek will be collecting nonperishable food at their father-daughter dances. We make it easy by bringing the barrel to you and picking up the food.

Girl Scout troops also brought food to the Food Bank at Family Volunteer Day. Troop # 20305 in Benicia collected food and delivered it in a decorated  box.. When people ask me what food we like, I ask if children will be helping to buy the food. Then I recommend that the children select some of the food so they feel a part of the giving. Peanut butter always tops the charts.

In January, we received a $25 check from with the attached note:

“Hi, my name is Lauren and I am a Girl Scout in Lafayette. One of the badges is the “Sign of the Sun” Live the Girl Scout Promise. I have been collecting plastic bottles and aluminum cans for a long time and after I saw your article in the Lafayette Today newspaper, I wanted to start donating the money I collect to the Food Bank. I plan to continue doing this but enclosed is a start”.

WOW! We were so impressed when we opened up the envelope and read the letter that we just had to share this story with our readers. We love your creative ways to collect money and food to help our mission of “Working to end hunger”.

Time for Turkeys

The Walnut Creek Sports and Fitness Club 19th annual Turkey Trot was held on Thanksgiving morning. Participants were asked to bring food for the Food Bank and staff were on hand with their truck and barrels to collect the food starting at 6:30am. Food was deposited by people dressed as turkeys, pilgrims, and even a can of cranberry sauce dropped by our truck to pose with a Food Bank barrel. A total of 465 pounds of food were collected and many people of all ages dropped by to talk about the Food Bank and where they could donate food or money.

Brazen Racing held their Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving Run at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond with over 800 dedicated racers joining in the morning fun. These are dedicated runners who love the challenge of hills and rugged trails. The racers were very happy to donate $45 and 821 pounds of food to fill the van. While it was raining in Walnut Creek we had some sunshine and a beautiful rainbow over the bay. What a great day to collect food for our community. We can hardly wait for both runs next Thanksgiving Day!

For more about real turkeys, watch our Purchasing Manager, Veronica, talk about holiday turkey donations.

Scare Away Hunger!

Thousands of doorbells were rung on Halloween night throughout the area. But in Concord, some of the ringing had a different purpose. Halloween was all about collecting nonperishable and monetary donations for the Food Bank and our community in need. A Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery employee came up with a great way to support the Food Bank, support a school and get the community involved in helping those in need in our community – trick or treating for food. Ken Dami of Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery took the next step by organizing the interested parties and then offering a company match of $5,000 to the Food Bank and $5,000 to the chosen school, Concord High. Not only was the Food Bank going to receive food donations on Halloween night, we were also going to receive cash donations plus $5,000 from Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery.

Seven different school departments: Band, Choir, Leadership, Cheer, Football, Baseball and Softball signed up to each have a team of 12 students go out into designated neighborhoods. Tesoro rounded out the team concept by providing dinner, a Scare Away Hunger t-shirt, a glow button, a trick or treat reusable bag, seven Tesoro vehicles and staff to follow the teams to collect the food as the teams walked door to door collecting plus a bus to drive the students into and back from the neighborhoods. Led by teachers and parents, the students went out and rang hundreds of doorbells. In the end, we received a fantastic 6,619 pounds of food and $1,723.43. The winning team was Softball but just by a small amount. And the prize for winning is a party sponsored by the refinery. Of course bragging rights seem to be the real prize not to mention all of the food and money collected.

At the end of the evening when all of the food was weighed and loaded into the truck and the money was locked up, two students came up to us and said “Thank you for inviting us tonight. It was the most fun ever and we can hardly wait for next Halloween”. What more can I say than I too can hardly wait for next Halloween.

Thank you to Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery for creating this great event and for your fantastic sponsorship. 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. Thank you students for volunteering as a team and making our first 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.

Lafayette Elementary School Food Drive

Lafayette Elementary School loves to host a holiday food drive every year in October. The process: the children bring in food each week for 3 weeks and on Friday mornings Marianne Brent and a few other parents go around to each classroom to pick up and count the food items to determine the winner of the week. Once the food is collected and counted it is placed in the 4 barrels in front of the main office. Next begins the fun. The 4th grade teacher Nancy Beliveau has her students pull food from the barrels and bring it into the MU room. They do this until all of the food is on the black line on the floor. Next the students take the food, one item at a time, and place it in the appropriate Food Bank boxing category. Once all of the food is boxed, the box lids are closed and the food is taken back to the Food Bank. For week 2 and week 3, a different 4th grade class joins Nancy Beliveau’s students for the boxing. The experienced students find a partner from the other class and work as a team to retrieve the food and place it in the correct boxes until all of the food is sorted/boxed.

The Food Bank’s goal? Bring the Food Bank to the students so they can experience volunteering plus this process has increased our food collections. At the end of the 3rd Friday, the students had collected and boxed 2,551 pounds of food. It was great to watch the teamwork, the smiles and great questions as the students volunteered. The students added love to every food item they touched. Nancy also took the next step in education by adding in lesson plans about food categories and what are the best foods to help others.

Thank you Marianne Brent and parent helpers, teacher Nancy Beliveau. Lafayette Elementary School faculty, students and parents for making the food drive such a success and for sharing volunteering and compassion with these wonderful children.

By the way, the prize for the class that brought in the most food? A field trip to the Food Bank. I think we are the ultimate winners: food and future Food Bank volunteers!