Originally posted on the Vacaville Reporter: The year was 1975. Gasoline cost $0.44 a gallon. The average cost of a home was $40,000. You could get a brand new car for $4,000. Even back then, although those prices seem like a bargain today, not everyone had enough food to get by. This is why the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano (then called the Community Food Coalition) formed and incorporated.
We were simply a group of people who were responding to the needs of our community. When someone applied for food stamps or other government assistance programs, there would often be delays in receiving benefits.
For people in that predicament, the eligibility worker would refer them to a local church or community center where they could get three days of food from local volunteer organizations. The Food Bank was created to help those organizations stretch their dollars by buying food in bulk and soliciting donations.
Little did we understand in 1975 the impact that the Food Bank would have in our community and how the need for food would grow.
Last year we provided over twenty million pounds of food to people in need in our local communities.
We work with nearly two hundred nonprofit service agencies and have a variety of direct service programs that bring food directly to low-income senior citizens, children and other people in need. We have a positive health impact on the people we serve because over half the food we distribute is fresh produce.
Everyone connected with the organization is incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish, but we struggle with using the term “celebration” to acknowledge our fortieth anniversary.
Some of us feel that it would truly be a cause for celebration if we didn’t have the need for food banks in a country that is as wealthy as the United States.
More importantly than looking back at what we’ve accomplished over the past 40 years, is the need to look forward. We need to focus on what needs to be done to get food in the hands of people who need it.
In addition to food donations, we need to raise money to pay the handling fees for the produce we distribute and for transporting it to our warehouse. We need to raise funds to pay for our trucks and drivers who bring the food to those we serve.
To honor 40 years of nourishing our community, we are holding a black-tie optional gala on Saturday, May 16. Nourish is our 1st annual Gala benefitting the Food Bank.
Money raised at the gala will help us accomplish the work we need to do in the coming years. For every dollar we receive, 0.96 goes directly to food programs.
If you would like to come to this dinner dance and auction fundraiser, visit www.foodbankccs.org/40th. On the web page you can RSVP to the event or make a donation if you want to help, but are unable to attend the gala.