Author Archive

Patty

About Patty

Community Outreach Coordinator

Farewell to the Event of the Summer

For thirteen years the Food Bank has celebrated An Afternoon in the Admiral’s Garden with many friends and supporters. The end of last month marked our final fundraiser at the Mare Island venue with the historic mansion as our backdrop.

The event was a rousing success, with generous guests and donors providing $140,000 that will enable us to provide 280,000 meals to people in need in the coming months. Guests jammed to the music of Big Cat Tolefree and the Hipnotics, engaged in bidding wars over silent and live auction items like trips, dinners and spa days. They sampled fine wine and food from local vendors before the gourmet lunch, which has been a tradition that never disappoints.

Thank you to all of the attendees, staff, sponsors and volunteers who have helped provide over 5.7 million meals by participating over the last thirteen years.  Those of you who completed our online survey by July 17 were entered into a drawing to win a $25 Safeway gift card. And the winner is… (drum roll)… Paul Clancy of Walnut Creek. Congratulations Paul!

Look for a new and exciting event from the Food Bank in the Fall of 2014.

Food Bank Ambassadors

The Ambassadors are a unique kind of volunteer at the Food Bank. They serve as a public face for us to local businesses, community organizations, social clubs, and at events as well as being an advocate for the Food Bank’s programs and services.

Food Bank Ambassador Linda Elsdon tabling at Fentons in Vacaville

On this one-year anniversary of the Food Bank Ambassador program, we think back to the many events our Ambassadors have joyfully attended on our behalf such as the Wells Fargo Annual Volunteer Fair, National Train Day in Martinez, Richmond’s Music on the Main, Celebrate Everyday Heroes Golf Tournament in Orinda, Music in the Park at Suisun City Library, “Healthy Sunday” in Pittsburg, Winterhawk Winery in Suisun and they will attend the upcoming Kaiser Richmond Employee Wellness Fair and the Loma Vista Farm Harvest Festival.

Some of these volunteers have bilingual skills to help us reach more of our Spanish-speaking donors and clients, but we hope to increase that number, especially in West and East Contra Costa County.

Thanks to our Ambassadors, the Food Bank is able to increase our outreach at schools, business fairs, and other community events every year. To learn more about our ambassador program, please contact Patty at pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org or (925) 676-7543 extension 243.

Food Bank Educates Students

“The Hungry play is top notch in every way — good acting, nicely and cleverly staged, and the message, which all kids need to hear, was clearly and age-appropriately stated through the story of the play. I’m a fan!”

This is just one of the many positive comments we’ve received regarding the Food Bank’s FREE live performances of the play entitled, Hungry at middle schools throughout Contra Costa and Solano counties. Hungry, written by award-winning playwright, Patricia Loughrey debuted in 2004 and tours annually. In 2010, Hungry was performed in front of more than 6,000 students, teachers and parents and typically, schools follow up on the message of the play by organizing holiday food drives or including hunger as a topic in their social science studies. The Food Bank is currently scheduling morning performance dates for Fall 2011.

There is no cost to the school and the gymnasium or multipurpose room can serve as a venue for the play. The play runs about 40 minutes and should fit within a single class period. If you would like to preview that play, a DVD can be provided for you per your request.

Note to Businesses: Your sponsorship is a fantastic opportunity to promote your company, enhance your presence within the local community, and be recognized as a supporter of hunger education.

Please contact Patty McDowell (pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org or (925) 676-7543 extension 243) for any questions you have or if you would like to preview the play, schedule a performance, or find out about sponsorship opportunities.

Local Supporters Stepped Up to the Challenge!

As we work harder every day to assist individuals and families right here in Contra Costa and Solano counties during these tough economic times, we couldn’t do it alone. Hunger in our community is a daily challenge, and we are always looking for partners in our hunger relief efforts.

That’s why we were excited to participate in the Pound For Pound Challenge which brought together NBC’s “The Biggest Loser: Couples,” General Mills, Subway, and the Feeding America network of food banks. The Pound For Pound Challenge invited individuals to pledge their weight loss goals and or every pound pledged the Pound For Pound Challenge donated the monetary equivalent of a pound of groceries to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

The response we had from our community was inspiring! A grand total of 29,448 pounds were pledged which means our food bank will be receiving a donation of $3,239.28. On behalf of all of us at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and the 132,000 people in Contra Costa and Solano counties who we serve each day, thank you for taking the Pound For Pound Challenge.

A special thanks to the local businesses and volunteers who stepped up to the challenge and helped us spread the word about this campaign so we could earn more funds and feed more individuals and families in need. These include:

Anderson Bros. Movers in Martinez                                                                            pound for pound challenge
Aspire Pilates in Concord
Bally Total Fitness in Pleasant Hill
Benicia Fitness
California Fitness in Martinez
California Health Club in Pleasant Hill
Cambiati Wellness Programs in Walnut Creek
Clayton Fitness Center
Clayton Mind and Body Connections
Clayton Snap Fitness Center
Curves in Martinez
Diablo Rock Gym in Concord
Dr. Lujan Chiropractic Office in Concord
Fitness 19 in San Ramon
Forma Gym in Walnut Creek
In-Shape Sport in Concord
Kelly Ann’s Day Spa in Pleasant Hill
Lafayette Health Club
Lynch Fitness in Walnut Creek
Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville
PATH Performance Training Center in Pleasant Hill
Play It Again Sports® in Pleasant Hill
Spark Fitness in Pleasant Hill
Sports Basement in Walnut Creek
Step It Up Studios in Pleasant Hill
The Big C Athletic Club in Concord
The Dailey Method® in Lafayette
The Living Lean Program in Orinda
The Yoga Company in San Ramon
24 Hour Fitness in Moraga
24 Hour Fitness in Walnut Creek
UFC Gym in Concord
Walnut Creek Sports & Fitness Club
Willow Pass Recreation Center in Concord
YMCA in Pleasant Hill
YogaWorks in Walnut Creek
And our very own Pound For Pound Challenge Champion and Biggest Loser Season 9 Contestant, Patti Anderson. We appreciate your amazing contributions and support Patti!

Last but not least, we thank John Young and Don Potter of 95.3 KUIC Hometown Morning Show and the following Food Bank Ambassadors for their outstanding job in helping us get so many supporters on board: Linda Barron, Barbara Beckert, Pat Ellison, Marcia Fortney, Susan Stillings, Linda Waxman, and Aaron Yuen.

To learn more about our ambassador program, email pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org.

Fluffernutter! A sundae for the Food Bank.

During the month of January there sure was a lot of positive ‘Fluffernutter’ talk at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. To raise money for local food banks and build awareness of hunger issues within our community, Fentons Creamery created Myrtle’s Special Sundae of the month, The Fluffernutter, which was inspired by one of the non-perishable food items desired most by food banks – Peanut Butter!

The Fluffernutter Sundae of chocolate peanut butter crunch ice cream and chocolate marshmallow swirl ice cream with hot fudge, peanuts, mini marshmallows and a cherry was sold throughout January to benefit the Food Bank. Fentons at the Nut Tree in Vacaville sold 151 Myrtle’s Creations (regular size) and 143 Junior size sundaes. With 25% of these sales being donated, we received a check for $653.06!

Fentons Vacaville didn’t stop there… they hosted a food drive and collected 90 pounds of food plus $106.32, their employees and family sorted and packed non-perishable food items for distribution at our Fairfield warehouse, and they gave us the opportunity to set-up a table in the lobby on Saturdays with literature and talk to Fentons’ guests about the Food Bank’s programs and services, as well as volunteer opportunities. As quoted by a Food Bank Ambassador who volunteered, “Fentons were very accommodating and helpful to us.” The promotion provided exposure to the Food Bank and brought a greater awareness to hunger issues.

Thank you Fentons Creamery in Vacaville for being an active participant in our local community!

Food Bank Ambassador Linda Elsdon tabling at Fentons in Vacaville

To learn more about our Food Bank Ambassador program, email pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org.

Pound for pound, we can fight hunger.

The local support we’re getting for the Pound For Pound Challenge is amazing!  We welcome and thank everyone who is helping our food bank earn a bigger share of the $1 million being offered by the Pound For Pound Challenge because this will allow us to feed more individuals and families in need.

pound for pound challengeWe at the Food Bank would like to thank the following community partners for getting the word out about the Pound For Pound Challenge: Anderson Bros. Movers in Martinez who have been promoting the challenge through local Chamber of Commerce associations, California Fitness in Martinez, Clayton Fitness Center, Clayton Mind and Body Connections, Clayton Snap Fitness Center, The Dailey Method® in Lafayette, Dr. Lujan Chiropractic Office in Concord, In-Shape Sport in Concord, Kelly Ann’s Day Spa in Pleasant Hill, PATH Performance Training Center in Pleasant Hill, Play It Again Sports® in Pleasant Hill, Spark Fitness in Pleasant Hill, Step It Up Studios in Pleasant Hill, The Big C Athletic Club in Concord, 24 Hour Fitness in Moraga, UFC Gym in Concord, Walnut Creek Sports & Fitness Club, and YMCA in Pleasant Hill.

For the third consecutive year, Feeding America and NBC’s The Biggest Loser have partnered with General Mills and Subway to encourage Americans to “Lose Nationally, Feed Locally”.

Take the challenge to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and you help both yourself and your community to be healthier. Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 11 cents for every pound pledged (up to a maximum donation of $1,040,000). You can pledge your goals at www.pfpchallenge.com. When you sign up, you can immediately join a team – and our team’s name is “Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano”. And, be sure to join our Pound For Pound Challenge – Contra Costa and Solano facebook group to learn more about the weekly “Walk to Give & Get Healthy” event we have created to help us reach our Challenge goals.

Did you know March is National Nutrition Month®?

This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month®, an annual nutrition education and information campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association, is “Eat Right with Color” and that is one of our favorite topics here at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

Child Eating AppleEat Right with Color is part of our daily work. In many low-income neighborhoods, access to affordable, nutritious food is sparse at best, often leading to higher than average occurrences of diet-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity. At the Food Bank, we aim to help everyone Eat Right with Color by ensuring access to fresh, healthy food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Of the more than 12.6 million pounds of food we distributed last year, an amazing 3.5 million pounds were fresh fruits and vegetables.

Our Senior Food Program is certainly doing its part of making sure seniors eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. The ‘Colors of the Senior Food Program’ at our last five distributions brought a greater nutritional value to the bags of food. Green was represented by cabbage and apples. White was represented by onions and potatoes. Orange was represented by oranges, carrots and yams.

Last week our Farm 2 Kids Coordinator visited a few Vallejo schools that receive produce on a weekly basis. Everyone was ecstatic because for the first time they all received a shipment of red and yellow mangoes from the Food Bank. Frequently when she asks the children what they would like to see in Farm 2 Kids they inevitably say enthusiastically “mangoes!” Read more about the mangoes we distributed to hundreds of children on our Food Bank Blog.

Where does the produce come from? As part of our statewide association of Food Banks we are able to purchase surplus produce for pennies on the pound. Fruits and vegetables grown by farmers in the Central Valley are often “not perfect enough” to be sold in grocery stores. Often, they are just too big or too small to be sold and that is why our clients sometimes receive giant oranges or tiny potatoes. The Food Bank buys the produce in large bins and then we have volunteers sort out any items that may have spoiled in transit. They then package the fruits and vegetables in boxes and a driver delivers them to the school site.

These are just a few examples of what Eat Right with Color means here at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano as we strive to provide healthy food for hungry people.

Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville joins Pound For Pound Challenge

Pound For Pound Challenge is underway and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano welcomes the support of Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville.  For the third consecutive year, Feeding America and NBC’s The Biggest Loser have partnered with General Mills and Subway to encourage Americans to “Lose Nationally, Feed Locally”.

Take the challenge to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and you help both yourself and your community to be healthier.  Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 11 cents to Feeding America for every pound pledged (up to a maximum donation of $1,040,000).  Feeding America will then distribute the money to the local food bank of your choice.  You can pledge your goals at www.pfpchallenge.com.

We at the Food Bank thank community partner Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville for getting the word out to its members.  You can check them out at www.milleniumsportsclub.com.

First Northern Donates $4,787 to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

First Northern Bank, headquartered in Solano County, marked its 100th year in business with its employees selling a commemorative cookbook throughout 2010 titled, “100 Years and Still Cooking!” The project raised funds for local food banks and every dollar earned from selling the cookbook will go to help feed hungry children, adults and seniors in need. The $10 cookbook is a collection of favorite family recipes from First Northern Bank employees, directors and shareholders. Proceeds from the bank’s centennial cookbook netted over $10,000 for 5 area food banks, with $4,787 going to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano which represents the proceeds generated from cookbook sales in Solano County.    

Last year, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano distributed 3.5 million pounds of food in Solano County alone, reaching 43,000 people a month. “We’ve seen a 30% increase in need in the past few years. And, some of our donors are now clients,” says Marilu Boucher, Development Director for the Food Bank. “Due to the generosity of the community, we’re keeping up with the demand.”

To read more, visit www.foodbankccs.org/media-center/press-releases.html. The Bank can be found on the Web at www.thatsmybank.com.

The Food Stamp Program is now CalFresh

On October 23, 2010, California’s Food Stamp Program was renamed! CalFresh – Better Foods for Better Living was chosen as the new name by people who are eligible for benefits.

CalFresh logoAs stated in the state’s Frequently Asked Questions document, “The CalFresh name and logo capture the essence of our great state and our strong ties to agriculture. The name and logo bring to mind the essentials for a successful food assistance program: accessibility, simplicity, freshness, and empowerment. It is a name that, as one food stamp recipient said, ‘encourages you to eat fresh food.’ It represents a healthy lifestyle and a ‘fresh’ look for this important program.” For more information about CalFresh, please visit /get-help/food-stamps.html.