During the holiday season, people think of gifts, food and family. Families gather together with the holiday meal being a main part of the celebration. It is also a time we give presents to each other, sharing with others to show we care for our family and friends. But the holidays are an especially difficult time for the families served by the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. People who need help from us throughout the year struggle as they try to make the holidays a special time for their family.
We at the Food Bank are lucky we live in a community that wants to help. The Food Bank has been working for nearly forty years to make the holidays a happier time for the families we serve in our community. We begin our planning in August by purchasing the food we will need for the holiday baskets put together by the agencies we serve. We work with local food pantries and soup kitchens to determine who they will serve and what they will need from us during the holidays. We are able to provide fresh fruit and vegetables as well as canned food and turkeys at no cost to the agency. We raise money so we can buy grocery gift certificates that allow families with limited cooking facilities to obtain the food they need for their holiday meal. Working with the pantries and soup kitchens in our community, we helped provide 14,000 meals to people last year, and more than 26,600 baskets went to families in need.
The holiday time is the busiest of all at the Food Bank, but we are able to do this work because the community gives. We have collection barrels in local grocery stores. Businesses and schools organize food drives. Scout troops, faith communities, swim teams and motorcycle riders from our local refineries collect food and raise funds. The number of drives increases every year, but we have nearly 800 locations where people can donate food to their neighbors. We must receive this community support because we need to distribute over 1.7 million pounds of food and over 900 turkeys during the holiday season.
You have helped make the holiday brighter for the families we serve every year because the community gives generously. Our committed volunteers help to sort and box the donated food we receive so that the generosity of the community during the holiday season continues to provide for the people we serve into the new year. Because the community gives so generously, we are able to make a difference in the holiday season and throughout the year.