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Honoring 40 years of nourishing our community

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano celebrated a significant milestone in May with our first annual Nourish gala honoring our 40th anniversary.  The evening was a true retrospective because Linda Locke, the founder of the organization, was able to attend.  The evening also represented our future by bringing together those who make our continuing work possible.  Our presenting sponsor, Chevron, shared the evening with us along with seventeen other companies that represent the corporate support we receive. Current and past Board Members were also in attendance, along with private donors who make our work possible. Roberta Gonzales from KPIX CBS 5 did a fabulous job hosting the event, reflecting the media support we receive. The evening was truly a celebration of the community effort that makes the Food Bank thrive.

The event also showcased the community support we need to continue growing our work with the debut of the Kris Lesher-Aring Giving Circle.  The Lesher family was kind enough to allow us to honor Kris’s belief that there is no reason anyone should be hungry in a land as prosperous as ours.  We hope donors will help us in our work by honoring Kris Lesher-Aring’s lifelong concern for people in need.
For more information, contact Randy Street at 925-677-7002.

Please enjoy the video retrospective and photos by Lily Dong Photography at www.foodbankccs.org/40th.

Celebrating 40 Years Of Service To The Community

Originally posted on the Vacaville Reporter: The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano appreciates the many relationships that we have with the community. We depend on these alliances to help us achieve our mission.

The Food Bank relies on the individuals and organizations that donate food, so we can get it to those who need it the most. We value our partnerships with local nonprofit agencies, as they provide food to people who we don’t reach through direct distribution.

Because of the rapport we have with our volunteers, more than 80,000 hours of work is donated to our cause each year. And the connections we have with our financial donors allow us to effectively distribute more than 20 million pounds of food to those in need every year.

This year marks a milestone to celebrate these relationships as we acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the Food Bank’s work. We held our first annual Nourish gala on May 16 and this year we recognized 40 years of service. The event was held at Round Hill Country Club and we were joined by nearly 200 supporters. Donors were there from our lead corporate sponsor, Chevron, along with seventeen other corporate supporters. Roberta Gonzales, from KPIX CBS 5, was our emcee and raised the spirits of everyone in the room with her infectious energy. The enthusiasm Roberta generated was a great help when our fund raising auction began.

We began the live auction with my homemade lemon bars that I am “required” to make for every staff potluck at the Food Bank. They sold for $1,100, which made for an incredible beginning! We then auctioned off naming rights for one year to the sorting area in our Fairfield and Concord warehouses, generating $11,000.

The highlight of the live auction was when we came to the final item, “Feed the Need”. The Food Bank made the request for a new trailer to use to transport food. We asked attendees to contribute to the purchase of the trailer (building on the money generously donated the previous day in Valero’s skeet shoot fundraiser). Their response was amazing, and we raised more than $40,000! People gave because they wanted to make a difference; they wanted to help the Food Bank provide more food to those in need in our community. Through the generosity of those who supported our Nourish event, we raised more than $125,000 to help fight hunger in our community.

We also took a step forward in creating the Kris Lesher-Aring Giving Circle. These major donors will honor the memory of Kris Lesher-Aring who was involved in many philanthropic efforts before she passed away. Kris attended our 25th anniversary and spoke of her belief that there should not be hunger in a community as prosperous as ours. We know that many of our donors share her belief and this is a way to acknowledge those who give significant support to our efforts.

The gala was a time to acknowledge all that we have accomplished over the last 40 years and a time to look toward the future.

Food Bank To Hold Black-Tie Optional Fundraiser

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.

Letter Carriers To Help Local Food Bank This Saturday

Originally posted on the Vacaville Reporter: On Saturday, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano will participate in the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, the biggest one-day food drive in the nation. This will be the 23rd year that the letter carriers have organized this successful event that provides residents an easy way to donate food to help “Stamp Out Hunger” in their community.

On the day before Mother’s Day, letter carriers will pick up food donations during their normally scheduled mail route. To participate, all you need to do is pick up some extra nonperishable groceries at the store or gather some of the surplus unexpired and unopened food in your pantry.

The food needs to be placed in a sturdy bag next to your mailbox, prior to your regularly scheduled mail delivery.

If you are looking for ideas of what to donate, the recipients of our many food programs can always benefit from canned items such as tuna, chicken, meat, soup, fruit, vegetables and tomato products. Other items that are needed are peanut butter, iron-rich cereal, 100 percent fruit juice, dry beans, powdered milk, rice and pasta.

Last year the Food Bank received 170,000 pounds of food from this one-day event.

It takes a lot of coordination to pull off a food drive of this magnitude. The Food Bank has to do a great deal of work behind the scenes to process the donations efficiently.

However, as always, we couldn’t do it without the help of others. Safeway and Save Mart Supermarkets help by loaning us trailers. We use the trailers to collect the donated food from letter carriers’ trucks at consolidated distribution sites in strategic locations. We rely on hundreds of volunteers to help us gather the food at these collection sites throughout the day.

This year we also received financial support from organized labor to help us purchase the bags we distributed to postal customers.

The biggest heroes of the day are the letter carriers themselves. They are the eyes and ears of their communities and they want to take action to help our neighbors who are struggling.

Residents often donate a bag of groceries as a gesture of support to not only the local food banks, but their letter carriers as well. They appreciate the hard work that letter carriers put in on a daily basis and know that this drive is important to them.

The food we receive from this food drive allows us to stock the shelves to feed children in the summer. Child hunger is more of an issue during summer than any other time of year. This is due to many low-income children not receiving the free or reduced-priced breakfast and lunches that they normally receive at school.

Letter carriers have been encouraging neighbors to help one another for 23 years through their annual food drive.

They know they are going to be extra tired at the end of their shift this Saturday. However, they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they, along with the generous residents on their routes, will have made a real difference to so many in need.

The Letter Carriers’ Food Drive is coming up on Saturday, May 9th

The Letter Carriers’ Food Drive is coming up on Saturday, May 9th. The NALC Branch 1111 Food Drive coordinator and a Food Bank representative went out to the post offices to speak to the staff about the food drive and how important this drive is for those in need. Our first talk was at the Moraga Post Office. Help your letter carrier feed our community members living with hunger by leaving a bag of food out by your mailbox the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Your letter carrier will pick up the bag of food and bring it back to our trucks waiting at each of the post offices. Last year they collected over 170,000 pounds of food in our two counties. Let’s help them surpass that number this year!

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Local high schools compete to end hunger at the Solano Town Center

solano centerThe Solano Town Center celebrated the success of its first annual canned food drive as six participating high
schools throughout the area raised 6,801 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Contra and Solano.

Students from Fairfield High School, Rodriguez High School, Public Safety Academy, Sem Yeto Satellite, Matt Garcia Learning Center, and Armijo High School joined the cause-related competition, which began Monday, October 27. To generate donations, the students stood by their designated kiosk, which they decorated with artwork and televised multimedia to attract attention.

The drive ended Monday, November 24, with Armijo High School collecting 4,118 pounds of food, more than any of the other schools. The entire school will receive a catered lunch from Fuddruckers on Monday,
December 15.

“We’re so impressed with the dedication and work that all of the schools and students put into collecting donations and raising awareness for the Food Bank of Contra and Solano,” said Marketing Director Jenny Mallory. “Families and students are a central part of the Solano Town Center culture and we’re happy to work with them in what we hope will become an annual holiday tradition.”

About Solano Town Center
Solano Town Center is located at 1350 Travis Boulevard, Fairfield, California. Center hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Restaurants and some stores operate additional hours. For more information, guests may call (707) 425-1164, visit the center’s website ShoppingSolanoTownCenter.com and follow the center on Facebook.

Give Where You Live ABC7 Thanksgiving Food Drive

There is no other way to put it, hunger just hurts more during the holidays.  For many in the Bay Area, this time of year shines a spotlight on just how much food insecurity affects their lives.  That’s why ABC7 and Bay Area food banks are working together to collect much needed food and cash donations this holiday season.

On Nov. 18th ABC7 broadcasted live from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano warehouse in Concord. On-air interviews were conducted with people who receive food, member agencies, and of course our own executive Director, Larry Sly. Volunteers and visitors were able to meet Spencer Christian, ABC7 News weather forecaster, in person. Food provided by Panera Bread, Round Table, Togo’s and Tower Grille, kept our guests energy up while Mark from Denon & Doyle kept the music going for the evening’s festivities.

More than 780,000 people in the Bay Area go hungry each month. That’s about 1 in 6 Bay Area residents, which includes families, children and seniors. For 23 years, ABC7 and Bay Area food banks have worked together and you can join us in helping feed our neighbors in need this holiday season! Text the word FEED to number 80077 to donate $10 to Bay Area food banks. When prompted, reply with YES to confirm the donation and have it added to your phone bill.

In addition to your donations, each of the Bay Area food banks were awarded with $15,000 from Disney-ABC to help provide food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to children and families who need it most in the Bay Area.

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Fall Events – Fun for Cause

Thank you to everyone who hosted and attended events this Fall. Here are some highlights from the recent calendar.

  • Scare Away Hunger – Thanks to the students at Alhambra and Concord High Schools who spent their Halloween collecting food. In just a few hours, they collected more than 14,862 pounds of food and $2,500.
  • Gourmet East Bay – Gourmet East Bay, Sponsored by Diablo Magazine and Broadway Plaza was held on Saturday November 1st. Guests were able to sample dishes from many top local restaurants, and fill their glasses with the finest wines, brews and spirits from local vendors. Live music, great weather, and fantastic silent auction items to bid on made this the place to be! The Food Bank was able to raise $7,700, which that will be used to purchase food for the holidays. Thank you to all who came out and supported the Food Bank.
  • The Habit Burger Grill in Antioch held its Pre-Grand Opening on Tuesday November 11th. One hundred percent of proceeds from the lunchtime sales of their mouth-watering menu items were donated to the Food Bank!
  • Moraga Turkey Shoot – The Moraga Country Club Senior Golf Association, and the Moraga Country Club, sponsored their second annual “Turkey Shoot”, on Thursday November 6th. Thank you to everyone who participated.  Through registration, a silent auction and a very entertaining live auction, we were able to raise more than $21,000 to help feed those experiencing hunger in our community.
  • Scouting for Food – over 120,000 pounds were collected by Scouts in Contra Costa and Solano Counties in one day!
  • WSPA Holiday Mixer – The Western States Petroleum Association mixed and mingled for the 4th annual Holiday mixer. Guests donated along with registration adding up to over 8,600 meals!
  • ABC7 Give #WhereYouLive – ABC7 Weather Anchor, Spencer Christian spent the evening with the Food Bank for a live broadcast on November 18th where he presented us with a check for $15,000 from parent company, Disney. We were also joined by member agencies, clients, volunteers and donors who shared their stories on the air and helped box produce. Thanks to all who showed up in person or tuned in to support Give #WhereYouLive.
  • Manor Care in Rossmoor partied the night away, casino-style for their annual holiday party and open house. Guests contributed enough funds for over 3,000 meals!

To learn more about events you can attend, visit www.foodbankccs.org/events.

Gourmet East Bay Put The “Fun” In Fundraising

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Angela, a friend to the Food Bank, and Aaron, a Food Bank Ambassador, share their knowledge with the guests at Gourmet East Bay.

The annual event, Gourmet East Bay, sponsored by Diablo Magazine and Broadway Plaza was held on Saturday November 1st in Walnut Creek. Guests were able to sample delectable dishes from twenty of the top local restaurants, and fill their glasses with the finest wines, brews and spirits from local vendors.  Live music from the crowd-pleasing popular band, Tainted Love, kept the atmosphere festive. Factor in the fantastic silent auction items to bid on, as well as the great weather, and it altogether made for a fun evening to remember! Best of all, the Food Bank received almost $8,000 that will be used to purchase food for the holidays for our community members in need. Thank you to all who came out and supported us!

Help Us End Hunger with NBC and Safeway

Help Us End Hunger with Safeway and NBC on  Saturday, November 22

 NBC Bay Area is once again teaming up with Safeway Stores for a one-day food drive on Saturday, November 22, kicking off a month-long effort to fight hunger with Bay Area Food Banks, a collaboration of seven food banks serving over 780,000 local residents each month. The “Help Us End Hunger” food drive will take place at 155 Safeway locations throughout the Bay Area making it easy for community members to participate and help feed their neighbors in need.

Despite the recovering economy, thousands of Bay Area residents still rely on their local food banks to put food on their tables each week. NBC Bay Area’s goal is to create awareness and provide our viewers an easy way to help out.

For the last five years, NBC Bay Area has partnered with Safeway to help stock the shelves of local food banks. In addition to providing on air promotion, the station will be enlisting hundreds of volunteers – including NBC Bay Area anchors and reporters helping at their own neighborhood Safeway Stores – on Saturday, November 22 to encourage shoppers to donate food items.

To make the donation process easier, a specially produced shopping bag filled with items that food banks need the most will be available for $10 at all local Safeway stores. Items include pasta and sauce, canned vegetables and important protein items like peanut butter and canned tuna. Once collected, the bags will be delivered to food banks for distribution to families in need. The bags will be available for Safeway shoppers to purchase now through December 25.

This year, NBC Bay Area and Safeway invited local chefs to participate in a recipe challenge by creating dishes using the food items provided in the donation bags. Recipe challenges will take place at various Safeway locations and will be broadcast live on NBC Bay Area. Try out some of their impressive creations with these recipes.

Last year, the food drive collected more than 134,000 bags at Safeway Stores across the Bay Area, amounting to over 1,600,000 pounds of food for those in need.