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The Day After 9/11 and Beyond

Ten years ago our lives changed. Some things like travel changed for the worse. We certainly look at our own safety differently. We care more about others and more people seem to show they care these days. Volunteers help the Food Bank on a daily basis and we could not operate without the help they give. Our volunteer program has grown over the years and with the need up significantly over 50,000 hours of time were donated last year. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since September 11th. I remember people calling for days and weeks after to volunteer saying they “needed to do something good…. something to help others”. It was their way of dealing with the tragedy. Many found it to be a new way of giving and a better way to live.

While September 11th was a National Day of Remembrance let’s make September 12th and beyond about what people did and will continue to do. Just like those who responded and helped after 9/11 today people give back and help their neighbors in need. September is Hunger Action Month. Please look at the 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar for ways you can help.

The Hunger Challenge Begins Next Week!

Attention All you Hunger Challengers: Set your $23.60 aside and go shopping this weekend! It might help to pre-plan and write out your menu for the week using the Shopping Log that way you get an idea of how far your weekly allowance will last. Planning ahead will help you to focus on buying foods that you can see yourself eating for a five day challenge and that can also be pared together to make a balanced meal.

The biggest mistake that I made last year was thinking that I would eat carrots every day for a snack. I didn’t care how inexpensive and good for you they were; by the end of the second day I had no desire to eat them again every day for the rest of the week. In preparing my shopping list I can see that it’s going to be the same ol’ things day after day, not a whole lot of excitement for my menu unfortunately.

The Hunger Challenge will take place Monday, September 12th – Friday, September 16th and will give you a feel for how a person receiving CalFresh Benefits (formerly the Food Stamp Program) would deal with daily eating on a budget of about $4 a day. Share your stories and challenges on our Hunger Challenge Facebook Group.

Win a Hunger Action Month T-shirt

We’d like to ask you to participate in Hunger Action Month by educating your fans and friends about hunger in our community. There are so many ways to play a role in fighting domestic hunger. These are just some of the ways to take action:

•    Watch the video of Matt Damon telling the real story of a man struggling with hunger on our website.
•    Share the video with your friends and family.
•    Get involved and find daily ways to make a difference with the Food Bank’s 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar.
•    Wear orange on Wednesdays in September.

If you are interested, we would also like to invite you to take part in the Hunger Challenge, September 12 – 16. During the Challenge you will get a feel for how a person receiving CalFresh Benefits (formerly the Food Stamp Program) would deal with daily eating on a budget of $4.72 a day. Would you be willing to eat on $4.72 and share your experiences with the Food Bank?

To learn more, visit the Hunger Action Month section of our website.

wear orange

Wear orange on Wednesdays in September!

In honor of Hunger Action Month, we will be giving away five orange Food Bank/Hunger Action Month t-shirts.

Enter to win: Leave a separate comment letting us know if you did action 1, 2 , 3, etc. below. Without a comment, we can’t pick your name and you’re not entered into this giveaway.
1.    Leave a comment telling us how will you take action against hunger this September.
2.    Like the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano on Facebook.
3.    Follow the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano on Twitter.
4.    Take the Hunger Challenge, September 12 – 16. Leave a comment letting us know you plan to participate in the challenge.
5.    Share this giveaway on Facebook. (Sample message: Enter to win an orange Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Hunger Action Month t-shirt at foodbankccs.org.)
6.    Tweet about this giveaway. (Sample tweet: Enter to win an orange Food @foodbankccs #HungerAction Month t-shirt at foodbankccs.org.)

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, 9/6 at 9 pm PST. Winners will be chosen at random.

Wear Orange

I love the San Francisco Giants but won’t wear the color orange. I love Halloween but won’t wear the color orange. And now I am asked to wear an orange t-shirt every Wednesday to symbolize hunger? Are you kidding me? But when I put on my new t-shirt with the statement “1 in 6 Americans Struggles With Hunger”, I felt like a superhero as I bagged fresh produce for people in need. No longer is it just about me and not liking the color orange, it is about what I can do in September to help the 1 in 6 people struggling with hunger.  Suddenly I have an endless amount of energy for putting bread on racks, sorting food and helping do the many tasks to get food out to those in need.

wear orange

Wear orange on Wednesdays in September!

In September, I am going to wear an orange t-shirt every Wednesday to remind me of the 1 in 6 people who are struggling with hunger. I am going to take ACTION to make sure I make a difference. Today is about ORANGE, tomorrow is about volunteering and making a difference. Every day is about all of us having the opportunity to be a SUPERHERO. Join me in wearing orange and being a superhero to those we may never meet but who receive the food they need thanks to all of us working together.

Learn more about how you can help make a difference during Hunger Action month this September at www.foodbankccs.org/hungeractionmonth.

New Study Shows That 22% Of Children Live at Risk of Hunger in Contra Costa and Solano Counties

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, released a new study which reveals in 21.7% and 22.4% of children under the age of 18 are struggling with hunger in Contra Costa and Solano counties respectively.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011”, also reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children are food insecure.

About half of the food insecure children in the Contra Costa and Solano counties are above 185% of the poverty line meaning they do not qualify for most federal nutrition programs including the National School Lunch Program due to the high cost of living in the area.

When discussing the issue with Larry Sly, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Executive Director, he said: “It is ironic that many children in our community are ineligible for government assistance programs, but their parents make so little, the children are food insecure. This is why the Food Bank’s work, both providing food and advocating for change, is so important.”

“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity” provides the following data in an interactive map format:

  • The percentage of the population who is food insecure in your county.
  • The percentage of children in your county that is eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.
  • The percentage of children in your county that is not eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.

By providing additional details about the face of child food insecurity at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the community based agencies they serve and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.

You can be a part of the solution. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or giving of your time and energy, everyone can play a role in ending hunger during Hunger Action Month this September. Learn more at www.foodbankccs.org/hungeractionmonth.

What is Hunger Action Month?

September is Hunger Action Month, when we ask everyone in America to take action to fight hunger in their community, all month long. Did you know that 1 in 6 people in Contra Costa and Solano are at risk of hunger?  Hunger Action Month is your opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more Americans than ever before.

Hunger Action MonthWhether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or volunteering, you can find the way that’s right for you to make a difference during Hunger Action Month. You can go online and view a video Matt Damon made about hunger, wear orange on Wednesdays to show solidarity, or go to www.foodbankccs.org/hungeractionmonth to find a calendar with 30 different ideas of how you can get involved – one for each day in September! You don’t have to be an adult to get involved. We even have a version for specifically for kids so they can become hunger helpers!


The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is Taking Action!

September is Hunger Action Month. The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano joins with Feeding America food banks across the country and our partner hunger relief agencies to ask everyone to play a role in fighting domestic hunger.

Hunger Action MonthHunger affects communities all across the country-rural, urban, and suburban. Right here in Contra Costa and Solano counties, 1 in 6 of our neighbors struggle with hunger. The problem is closer than you think, but so is the solution.

Throughout the campaign, the Food Bank will call on you to take action. In addition, we’ve teamed up with celebrities to tell the real stories of those struggling with hunger.

Watch Matt Damon tell his story at www.foodbankccs.org/hungeractionmonth. Share the video with your friends and family. Get involved by learning local hunger statistics and downloading the Food Bank’s 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar, to find daily ways to make a difference. One of the ways you can help is by organize a neighborhood food drive, but be sure to check in with the Food Bank to determine what their needs truly are! Email Joan at jtomasini@foodbankccs.org. You can also invite us to speak to the next meeting of your service club, or work group. This raises awareness and educates friends and colleagues about hunger in Contra Costa and Solano counties–and what we can do together to end it. To contact us about a speaker, please contact Patty at pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org.

We’re working harder every day to assist individuals and their families right here in our community in these tough economic times. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or giving of your time and energy, everyone can play a role in ending hunger during Hunger Action Month.

To learn more about Hunger Action Month, and the work that the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano do all year long, visit www.foodbankccs.org.

Join us this Hunger Action Month! Together we create a voice for those struggling with hunger in Contra Costa and Solano counties.

Agriculture Appropriations Bill Hurts Food Assistance Programs

The 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill the House narrowly approved threatens our ability to help hungry people in our community by cutting food assistance for children, seniors and food banks.

The House passed these cuts as one in five Californians report being unable to afford enough food. The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is now serving over 132,000 people every month, an increase of 46% (between 2006 and 2010). Serving Contra Costa and Solano counties in the San Francisco Bay Area with 175 partner agencies, the Food Bank will have distributed more than 14 million pounds of food over the last fiscal year by July 1 of this year. U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities provided through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) are one of the most nutritious sources of shelf-stable food available for distribution and constitute about 16% of the Food Bank’s food resources.

Food banks across the country are experiencing similar trends. Existing cuts to social services at the state and county levels have already stretched resources beyond capacity. If enacted, these federal cuts will make meeting the increased need in our community impossible.

Hunger is a non-partisan issue. Hopefully, the Senate will not uphold these draconian cuts to our country’s nutrition safety-net. We urge you to contact Senators Boxer and Feinstein and insist that they fight to prevent food assistance funding from being decimated.

Take Action!
Tell your Member of Congress “I oppose the recently-passed House cuts to emergency food programs because the federal budget should not be balanced on the backs of those struggling with hunger”. Not sure who your representative is? Find them by visiting www.house.gov.

Budget Cuts in Agriculture Appropriations Bill Unacceptable

I had the honor of listening in on a call this morning with Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and George Miller (CA-7) and the press where they discussed the cuts included in the Agriculture and FDA Appropriations bill, which will be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives this week.

baby eatingThe Agriculture and FDA Appropriations bill has been slashed by 13.4%, or $2.6 billion below FY2011. Included are cuts to critical nutrition and anti-hunger programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which could be cut by more than $650 million, meaning that up to 350,000 women and children could go hungry and will not have access to the nutrition they need. The Commodity Supplement Food Program, which mainly assists low-income seniors, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which helps assist states with food banks, could also see their funding cut by up to 20%.

On the call Congressman Miller stated that: “Nutrition is essential to thrive and grow” and that “cuts to WIC will increase health costs.”

Congresswoman DeLauro pointed out that “WIC is not an admin expense. It is about nutrition education, breast feeding support, screening for harmful substance abuse and ensuring people are on a healthy lifestyle path that will only save money in the future.”

Call Today!
Call your representative by using a toll-free number, 877-698-8228 provided by Feeding America. After a brief message you’ll be asked to enter your zip code to connect directly to your House member’s office.  Once you are connected:
•    Tell them that you are a constituent and state the name of the town you are calling from.
•    Let them know you are calling about the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations legislation
•    Deliver this message:
I am a supporter of my local food bank and I urge you to vote AGAINST the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations legislation, which cuts funding for TEFAP commodities, CSFP, WIC and SNAP reserve funds. Cutting safety net programs is the wrong way to balance the budget.  Food banks across the country will not be able to meet the increased demand for food assistance if nutrition programs like TEFAP, CSFP, WIC and SNAP are cut.

For more information about how you can help take action against hunger, please contact Lisa Sherrill at (925) 676-7543 extension 206 or lsherrill@foodbankccs.org.

Commit to being healthy

Guest post by Patti Anderson, Pound For Pound Challenge Champion and Biggest Loser Season 9 Contestant: There are many things in our lives that we have little control over and being on a tight budget may be one.  Eating healthy and living a fit lifestyle is within our control and can be achieved on a limited budget.

Fitness is free!  It doesn’t cost anything to take a walk, ride your bike, take the stairs instead of the elevator or run and play in the park.  Anyone can get off of the couch, learn what’s healthy to eat and exercise every day!

Eating healthy choices can be done with planning and preparation.  Measuring and weighing foods for proper serving sizes will also make your food dollars go farther and help to slim or maintain your waistline.

For parents, please remember that a healthy lifestyle must be consistently maintained for life and is more easily maintained when established during childhood.

There is just about a week and one-half left to pledge but you can commit to being healthy after the Challenge is over.  Help the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano earn a bigger share of the $1 million dollars being offered by the Pound For Pouch Challenge at no cost to you!  For every pound pledged, 11 cents (enough to secure one pound of food) will be donated to our local food bank.

Make your commitment and pledge today!