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Valero Takes Aim at Hunger

Clay shooters to aim to provide over 100,000 meals!

A strong supporter of the Food Bank for many years, Valero’s Benicia Refinery placed an increased emphasis on the mission and work of the Food Bank among  its employees and contracting companies during a Month of Caring.  Valero employees were encouraged to provide volunteer service sorting food orders, packaging fresh produce, and distributing food to those in need.   The employees responded by donating 460 hours of volunteer service.  In addition to supporting the volunteer effort, Valero also sponsored the Inaugural Sporting Clays Invitational held at Birds Landing, October 4, 2013.  Thanks to the support of numerous contractors and volunteers, the event raised $55,000 for the Farm 2 Kids program.  When asked about Valero’s involvement with the Food Bank, John Hill, Vice-President and General Manager of Valero’s Benicia Refinery said that he and his fellow employees love volunteering at the Food Bank because we can see the direct and positive results of service.  Food comes from the farms, volunteers package it for distribution, and people receive it the next day.  As far as having a direct, timely, and positive impact for people in need, it doesn’t get much better than that!

CALLING ALL ARTISTS!

SUBMIT YOUR DESIGN FOR A CHANCE TO BE FEATURED ON A FOOD BANK TOTE BAG

Nourishing the Community Artwork sample from Alameda County Community Food Bank

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is looking for original artwork that will be used to create custom eco-friendly tote bags. The tote bags will be used to generate funds that support our services for people in need.

WHO: Anyone may submit artwork in the contest. Enter as often as you wish. The winning entries will be selected by a panel of Food Bank staff members and announced by September 16, 2013.

WHAT: Artwork with a Nourish Our Community theme.

SPECIFICATIONS: Artwork should be 14” wide x 15” tall. If you submit your artwork electronically, .EPS format is best, but a high-resolution JPG is acceptable. You may also mail the original artwork to the Food Bank.

WHEN: Entries may be submitted between now and September 10, 2013. With each submission, please include your name, email address and phone number.

WHERE:
• email entries to rbraver@foodbankccs.org
• mail entries to “Tote Bag Design Contest”, c/o Rachel Braver, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, 4010 Nelson Ave. Concord, CA 94520

All tote bag art entries shall become the property of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and may be reproduced for publication, sale, and/or promotion of the Food Bank.

PRIZES:
• Your artwork featured on the front of thousands of Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s tote bags in 2013-2014.

• Two bags (including your design) when they are printed.

• Prize of $250 

CONTEST RULES:

  1. Artwork must be original, entirely the work of the entrant and not in violation of any copyrights. Computer-generated art is accepted.
  2. We are looking for a fun and whimsical design relating to nutrition. Some ideas to help inspire you can be found here: http://bit.ly/178T85o and here: http://bit.ly/13LE7tc.
  3. You may use the Food Bank logo or our colors in your design but this is NOT required. http://www.foodbankccs.org/media-center/logos.html
  4. Black and white or full color is fine. Also full-bleed is available.
  5. The Food Bank reserves the right to design the side panels of the bag and the bottom as well as include sponsor logo in that space.
  6. All art entries shall become the property of the Food Bank, and may be reproduced for publication, sale, and/or promotion of the Food Bank. The Food Bank may also modify the design slightly, eg add our logo.
  7. Entries must be received at the Food Bank by 4:00 pm September 10, 2013.
  8. Winners will be notified by September 16.

ADDITIONAL IDEAS:

Use a fun saying like: “Give peas a chance”, “Veggies Rock!” (vegetable band), “Peace, Love & Veggies”

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.

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.

Local Caterer Brings Support to the Table

Guest post by Leslie Mladinich: The day you will enjoy at the annual fundraiser, An Afternoon in the Admiral’s Garden, on June 23 equals many meals for hungry local residents who rely on the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano for their monthly nutrition and meal-planning.

And no one knows how far this support will go than Derry Englund, owner of Englud’s Cafe and Catering in Concord, the local business that will be catering the Food Bank’s most important fundraiser with a gourmet lunch. His support of the Food Bank goes back nearly two decades.

When the Food Bank first approached Derry many years ago to ask if he would cater a fundraiser, he had just moved Englund’s – which was founded in 1988 – to its Port Chicago Highway location. Derry thought the Food Bank “was in some church basement somewhere.”

Working with staff and visiting the Concord warehouse “was a real eye-opener to me,” he said.

“What I like to tell people about the Food Bank is the number of meals covered. When people picture the Food Bank, I think they picture something small. But in actuality, you can drive a semi-truck into the freezer,” Derry says with a laugh.

Before founding Englund’s, he was in the meat retail business. Along with catering weddings and other special events, he sees Englund’s role as vital to helping the community by catering nonprofit events at a great value so resources can go to help clients. Derry, a lifelong resident of the Concord and Clayton area, helps the community in other ways as well. Englund’s Catering Service donates food directly to area shelters, Derry helps veterans’ associations and before he founded the company, he worked in youth services. Englund’s also caters the Chamber of Commerce mixers held at the Food Bank and is a favorite lunch spot for Food Bank employees.

Working with food every day, Derry sees there is plenty to go around. “Hunger should not be an issue in the United States,” said Derry,

He challenges Admiral’s Garden participants to take a closer look at the Food Bank.

“I always challenge them to go out and look at the location and take a tour,” said Derry. “It has such an incredible responsibility for so many people.”

Englund’s Café and Catering is located at 4061 Port Chicago Hwy in Concord. Find them on the web at www.englundscatering.com

To reserve your place at An Afternoon in the Admiral’s Garden, visit www.theeventofthesummer.com.

 

 

Food Bank Ambassador is a Living Legacy

Houston (holding the flower and award) is pictured with friends, family and Food Bank staff members.

Guest post by Food Bank Office Assistant, Lauren Strouse: Every so often life presents us with the opportunity to do something special for someone else. Food Bank staff in Solano recently nominated one of their wonderful volunteers for a special honor. The Solano County Senior Coalition, in partnership with the Area Agency on Aging, the County, and cities in Solano, annually sponsor the Living Legacy Awards for individuals 60 and older.  The award categories are diverse: Community Spirit, Inspired Leadership, Social Innovation, Community Champion, Building Bridges, and Generative Age.  An application had to be completed, which included a 500 word essay detailing why this individual deserved the award. Volunteer Houston Robertson was nominated for a Community Spirit Award. We were truly delighted when she won, and even more excited to share the news with Houston.

The Award Ceremony was held at the Fairfield Community Center on May 15th. The honorees were able to invite guests and Houston’s son, daughter, and several friends were present to share this special occasion with her. Food Bank staff also attended. Mayors from all seven Solano County cities were in attendance. Houston was honored to have Benicia mayor Elizabeth Patterson sit at her table. Three members of the County Board of Supervisors helped present the awards and representatives for the other county supervisors, plus state legislators, were also present. Twenty one individuals, many well into their 80’s, from all seven cities in Solano County, were honored. It was a very inspirational afternoon.

Houston was nominated because she is a very special volunteer. She has an infectious personality and enthusiasm that inspires others to get excited about what they are doing. Houston, 77 years young, has been a volunteer with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano in Solano County, for just four years however, during this time she has demonstrated a dedicated commitment to the work the Food Bank is engaged in – fighting hunger.  She is a “member” of the Wednesday Morning Regulars, a group of retirees who sort food together every Wednesday. She has been a Food Bank Ambassador for two years, representing the Food Bank at various functions, such as community health fairs. She has also learned to conduct the Food Bank’s Wheel of Life activity, which is a regular part of our Family Volunteer Day, held approximately three times a year. She recently took full responsibility for presenting this at ACE Charter School when the school decided to organize a food drive as a Service Day activity, and she addressed the entire student body as well.  Last but not least, Houston volunteers at the Vallejo Food for Children distribution, which involves an additional time commitment of roughly four hours each month.

Houston also does public speaking about “Aging as Renaissance,” mostly to groups of seniors. It is a humorous, joy-filled presentation. She has written and published a book about her life, with special focus on mid-life. She is a fantastic example of how to age well, possess community spirit, and how to give back to the community. Her work exemplifies concern and compassion for others. She is active, fully engaged with life, and constantly seeking out new opportunities to be of service, learn and grow.

The Food Bank is fortunate to have someone like Houston helping to support our organization and equally grateful to have been able to play a role in this special individual being recognized with a “Living Legacy Award.”

Attend the Food Bank Annual Fundraiser to Fill Shelves When Donations Are Low

Enjoy a relaxing day in the garden with us on Sunday, June 23rd for the Food Bank’s 13th annual fundraising event, An Afternoon in the Admiral’s Garden.

The fun starts at noon with wine, appetizers, and live music by Big Cat Tolefree and the Hipnotics Band.  Bid on silent auction treasures and play some games of chance with big prizes before making your way into the garden for a delicious gourmet lunch, prepared by Englund’s Catering.  Renee Richardson from KFOG will emcee.

All the food, drinks, entertainment and tours you can enjoy at only $90 per person, or two for $170. Bring extra cash, check or credit card if you wish to participate in the auction or some of the games.

Reserve my spot today

If you can’t make the event, you can still win big with the Beat the Recession Raffle. You could be a lucky winner of $2,500 cash or other valuable prizes! Email Kathy Gleason with your name and address to be mailed tickets kgleason@foodbankccs.org.
For a sampling of the fine foods offered in the Tasting Tents, Auction prizes and reservations for this sell-out experience visit www.theeventofthesummer.com.

When Law Firms Compete Everyone Wins

Guest post by Food from the Bar Chairperson, Edward L. Shaffer of Archer Norris: The Contra Costa County Bar Association recently completed its 22nd annual Food from The Bar fundraiser for the Food Bank.  This was a special milestone year because they anticipated hitting One Million Dollars in total contributions.  While money still is trickling in, we did it and are well on the way to our second million!  Approximately 35 law offices in the County representing more than 800 employees raised more than $61,000 – for a grand total of more than $1,016,000.  Over the years participants also have collected more than 55 tons of food.

An important part of the drive was the 18th annual Comedy Night kickoff, attended by close to 200 people and headlined by noted comedian Will Durst.  Generous sponsors donated $13,500 to underwrite the event and help make the million dollar goal.  Some were new while others have been supporters for many years – and we thank them all!

Special Benefactor:
Wells Fargo

Patrons:
Archer Norris;  Liffey Network Solutions Inc.;  Newmeyer & Dillion LLP;  Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos LLP;  Timken Johnson LLP;  U.S. Legal Support

Contributors:
Certified Reporting Services;  Esquire;  Frankel Goldware Ferber;  Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss, Markowitz & Raines;  Gil Berkeley;  Law Offices of Suzanne Boucher;  MassMutual Financial Group;  Miller Starr Regalia;  Quivx;  Scott Valley Bank

In-Kind Supporters:
Back Forty Texas BBQ, Contra Costa County Bar Association, The Recorder

The Kids Run the Food Drive

Guest post by Galila Kitzes: A few weeks ago, the students of ACE Charter School– a small kindergarten through 6th grade elementary school in Vacaville – organized and ran their own food drive. ACE has a dedicated group of parents who support all kinds of community activism. But as much as we parents like to engage the kids, sometimes it’s hard to turn off our own need to control outcomes and take a chance on letting the kids do it…letting the proverbial chips fall where they may even if it’s not in pretty, well planned patterns of success.

So, we took a little risk. Students planned as much of the drive that they reasonably could. On a Friday morning five, multi-age classes planned one aspect of the food drive and a team of about 15 parents guided them through it. The parent volunteers didn’t give long explanations about how Food Banks or Food Pantries work. Instead, we asked students to tell us in their own words what they thought a food drive was – which took about 3 minutes – then they got to work. Our youngest classes decorated collection boxes for each classroom and made posters. The middle grades made fliers and ideas for meal donations instead of just single item donations. They also created an enormous chart on which to display each class’s progress for item collection. The oldest class came up with the general plan: how long the food drive would run, collection goals for each student and, of course, the prize for the classroom that collected the most items. In addition to setting up the rules of the food drive, the older students played the Wheel of Life with Houston, a Food Bank Ambassador. This game teaches kids, in a straight forward manner, how a person or a family becomes in need of emergency food assistance. Kids’ thinking evolved from seeing hunger as only an issue for the homeless to understanding how a family with a home, electricity and even a vehicle can end up hungry.

After each class had worked on its part, all five classrooms convened in the multi-purpose room, and kids from each classroom took turns explaining what they had done and what the other kids would need to do. The kids strode confidently up to microphones to speak: sometimes awkwardly and with wrong information, sometimes clearly and powerfully. The student audience listened with interest to them all. After this sharing of information and food drive planning, the kids went along their merry way to recess.

The parents left on their merry way, too. The older students decided to let the drive run for 3 weeks…how would all this work out? The students had copies of the fliers they designed …but would they just end up flying around the playground much to the chagrin of the custodian or would they make it to family, neighbors and other potential supporters? The posters the students made certainly looked cute and inspiring around the campus…but would anyone even notice them after a few days, let alone a couple of weeks? The chart had to be lugged into and out of the school daily. Would it be a source of motivation? Would the students really care about it after the novelty wore off?

What was the end result? The items came pouring in: 327 lbs the first week, 472 lbs the second week and 434 lbs the final week. One family even donated $100 for the Food Bank. The chart became the focal point for daily inspiration. Each day, kids gathered during recess and after school to count “cans” (the symbol used to represent a donated item). Parents congregated around the graph, too, interested in where their child’s class was relative to the other classes. This competition fueled their motivation, far more than posters and more than fliers. Thanks to Joan Tomasini at the Food Bank, the kids learned that 1,233 lbs of food was an unusually high amount for a school of our size (144 students) and a pride-worthy achievement.

Any school that is interested in teaching kids to be activists in their own community should consider running a food drive in this manner. Given that 1 in 4 recipients of emergency food is a child, kids have a vested interest in supporting organizations like the Food Bank.

Help Us Win $45,000 to Provide Fruits and Veggies to Kids!

The Farm 2 Kids program provides children in low-income areas with 3-5 pounds of fresh produce per week. Sometimes it is the only food they have for dinner.

As part of their Fighting Hunger Together initiative, Walmart is giving out grants for the most innovative and effective programs that help alleviate child hunger. Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is in the running to win one of 100 grants, but we need your help to win!

 Here’s How it Works

April 1 through April 30, go to www.foodbankccs.org/walmart to vote for our project. You can vote once a day, so please vote as often as you can.

You do not have to “like” Walmart on Facebook to participate, but do need a Facebook account. Contact Rachel if you have more questions or need Facebook help, rbraver@foodbankccs.org or 925.677.7011.

Funding for child hunger programs is especially critical considering the need that exists. Here in Contra Costa and Solano counties, 1 in 6 children struggle with hunger. The Walmart grant would go a long way to helping ensure that all children have access to the food they need to thrive.

Please share this with your friends and family!