Archive for ‘ Education ’

Interact Club of MVHS Takes on a Food Drive

Guest post by Ambassador Aaron Yuen: The Interact Club of Monte Vista High School in Danville once again is sponsoring a food drive. Last year, the club collected 2,550 pounds of food, quite a huge accomplishment for a student organization which utilized only the lunch break to plan and launch the food drive.

To kick off the food drive this year, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano was invited to give a talk to student members on Thursday, March 22. Having two graduates of MVHS in my family, I was delighted to take on the assignment wearing the MVHS colors of red and black and a Food Bank Ambassador badge at the same time.

The student members are very much into community service.  In addition to doing the food drive, the club is planning a car wash to raise funds to help fight teenage slavery trafficking.

Monte Vista received 15 barrels on Monday, April 16 and called to report that they are collecting food. They also mentioned they are not giving the barrels back until they are completely full.

Our future generation at work taking on current issues!

Admirable and inspirational indeed.

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 ( 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.


Millions of Mangos or so it seemed! Today we received mangos which we had never received before. So after seeing all of these mangos, I had to look on the internet to see what to do with one. We received these mangos from a produce distributor in Ventura. I am sure all of the California food banks have them right now so this is pretty exciting to have something new and exotic. Will the children eat them – I definitely think so.

So here is what you need to know: The mango is a comfort food. Mangos really can make you feel better! Beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, mangos contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties and act as a digestive aid. Mangos are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, as well as a good source of Potassium and contain beta carotene. Mangos are high in fiber, but low in calories (approx. 110 per average sized mango), fat (only 1 gram) and sodium.

That is all nice but how do you eat it? You can slice it and eat it or put it in a salad or a rice dish. You can put it in an omelet, add it to French toast or cereal. Add a mango to soup or pizza or just about any dish you can think of. The recipes are endless. So this seems to be the perfect fruit! Check out to see some great recipes and learn more about the mango. Our mangos are on their way to hundreds of children today. I hope they like them and learn how wonderful fruit can be.

Bad Apples Gone Good

When we buy fresh produce for those we help, we often find broken open apples that we can’t distribute to people. Based on health department regulations, we can’t distribute these bad apples but we also don’t want those we help to feel they deserve badly bruised or broken apples. So what do we do with these apples? Well, today I got to deliver a few small containers of bad apples to Loma Vista Farm in Vallejo (an educational farm not far from Six Flags Theme Park). My two favorite cows, Oreo and Keebler could hardly wait for me to hand them an apple. They open their mouths and I just put the apple inside – their tongues are really scratchy! After a few hand fed apples, I dumped the rest in their food bin. They are really happy cows right now. It is a great feeling to be helping the environment by reducing our garbage and helping this wonderful educational farm.

As I was starting to leave, one of our Food Bank trucks pulled up to the school down the street delivering the Farm 2 Kids produce. Rita, at Loma Vista Farm told me the children will come and visit the cows and chickens later today and notice that the farm animals have apples to eat. She uses this as an educational moment to explain to the children that farm animals also need fresh produce. So if Keebler and Oreo like apples, you children should too. She says it always works and the children come back the next week saying how much they now like apples and how much they appreciate the farm animals as they are pretty smart animals. I left with a smile on my face knowing our community partner Loma Vista Farms is helping spread the word of how good fresh produce is for all of us.

Oreo and Keebler

Oreo and Keebler (picture from the Loma Vista farms facebook page)

The Food Stamp Challenge comes to end for some, but not for the thousands of people who live with hunger every day.

The San Francisco Food Bank 2009 Hunger Challenge ran from September 20-26. For seven days, participants ate on $4 dollars a day, the budget of a food stamp recipient.

Read about CBS 5 Reporter Sue Kwon’s week on the Hunger Challenge.

No room for error living on $4 a day

A cup of coffee cost Sue Kwon a big part of her $4 food budget. See what she has to say here:

CBS 5 Reporter Takes $4-A-Day Hunger Challenge

The San Francisco Food Bank’s 2009 Hunger Challenge is this week – September 20-26. CBS 5 ConsumerWatch reporter Sue Kwon takes on the challenge and will file reports everyday this week documenting her experiment that we hope will put a spotlight on hunger.


And Wednesday:

If you’re taking on the Hunger Challenge we would like to hear about it. If you are on food stamps and have budget stretching ideas or want to share your thoughts, please share them with CBS 5.

Hunger Solutions

We would like to thank Joel Berg for speaking at Clayton Books on March 14 and at the Food Bank on March 16. Even if you missed the event, be sure to read the book. Below are Joel’s facts for California and his ideas for solving hunger in America.

THE FACTS: California
? According to the USDA, from 2005 to 2007, more than ten percent of California residents were hungry or at risk for hunger – and that was before the recent economic crisis. High food prices and skyrocketing unemployment have only made things worse, as millions of additional Americans have been forced to join the lines at soup kitchens and food pantries in California and across the country.
? In 2006, California ranked last in food stamp participation among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a 2008 USDA report. (Note: The Federal Food Stamp Program was recently re-named the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.)
? At last tally, in 2007, 36.2 million Americans lived in homes that couldn’t afford enough food – including more than 12 million children.
? According to a Harvard study, hunger costs our country an estimated $90 billion per year in decreased worker productivity, impaired educational performance, and increased health care spending.

? Reform, streamline, yet increase the purchasing power of more than a dozen existing federal government nutrition programs, like food stamps and school meals.
? Provide universal, free school breakfasts in classrooms to all students, regardless of family income.
? Implement a national plan to increase living wage jobs and slash poverty.
? Give charities the resources they need to fill in the gaps after government has done its job.

To learn more, read the book and visit

An apple a day is out of reach for more than 36 million Americans.

This March, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is recognizing National Nutrition Month® in honor of the more than 36 million Americans that lack access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life. National Nutrition Month® is an education and information campaign sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association. Those at risk of hunger often cannot afford preventative and follow-up health care services. For this vulnerable population, access to nutritious foods is vital in maintaining good health. Studies show that growing children need a balance of vitamins and minerals for cognitive and behavioral development.The Food Bank is a reliable source of healthy foods for low-income families, delivering over 3.5 millions pounds of fresh produce annually.

The volunteers pictured above are boxing produce for the Food Bank’s Farm 2 Kids program. through this program, kids in 40 schools in Contra Costa and Solano counties are able to take home 3-5 pound bags of produce every week during the school year.

We would not be able to continue this critical work and provide nutritious foods without the support of our community. Your food and fund donations are leading our efforts to creating a hunger-free community. Together, we can provide hope to hungry Americans for a better tomorrow.

To learn more about nutritious initiatives happening at the Food Bank, visit

How much does it cost to support a family?

How much must an individual earn to support their family? According to it would take more than three full-time jobs, earning minimum wage, to support a three person family in our community.

Check it out:
Living Wage Calculation for Contra Costa County, California
Living Wage Calculation for Solano County, California