The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano and Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo teamed up with 49er legend, Eric Wright to put on Taste of Champions in early March. The 400 people in attendance at the fundraising event took in the scenic views of Levi’s Stadium and enjoyed gourmet food prepared by Chef Santana Diaz. They were treated to live music while they mingled with some of their favorite champion athletes. Guests had the opportunity to bid on coveted prizes such Super Bowl 50 tickets, a VIP weekend to the Kentucky Derby, passes to a Dancing with the Stars performance and cookies personally made by Kristi Yamaguchi. With the focus on childhood hunger, this event raised enough funds to provide over 90,000 meals for children this summer!
Originally posted on The Vacaville Reporter: Distributing more than 20-million pounds of food a year, in an effective matter, is no simple feat.
One way the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano gets the food to the people we serve is through our direct distribution programs. This means that we give the food directly to the individuals and families in need. However, by collaborating with almost 200 partner agencies, we are able to reach many more people who are food insecure. The Food Bank distributes food to these agencies, who in turn, distribute it to the people they serve.
Besides the soup kitchens and food pantries that we partner with, our other nonprofit partner agencies provide a variety of other services that include transitional housing, child-care, career counseling and assisting the disabled. Collectively, these agencies serve food to 110,000 individuals annually, ranging in age from young children to the elderly.
Last week the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano hosted its 5th Agency Summit and I was reminded of how important our network of agencies is in making our work possible. The goal of this event is to gather information and learn from each other. It was inspiring to see nearly 200 people representing agencies from cities throughout Solano and Contra Costa counties working together with a common goal.
The Food Bank arranged for the attendees to break up into smaller groups to learn about a variety of topics. These topics included: food handling safety, fund development, CalFresh basics, dealing with difficult people, serving diabetic clients, crowdfunding to raise money and recruiting/training volunteers.
The agencies benefited not only from the expert presentations, but also from exchanging their knowledge and experiences with one another.
We were privileged to have Ann Huff Stevens from the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis and Kim McCoy Wade from the Alliance to Transform CalFresh as our keynote speakers.
Ann discussed poverty and the impact being poor has on local families. The academic studies she has done demonstrate an incredible social loss when people must focus on providing the basics of life. Children who do not eat well do not learn well and develop health issues. Ann’s research shows that if we improve the lives of those in poverty, society will benefit.
Kim followed Ann’s presentation by talking about CalFresh, one of the basic building blocks that helps California residents living in poverty. CalFresh recipients are given a debit card that allows them to buy food in local grocery stores. The CalFresh program provides essential support to individuals who do not earn enough and struggle to provide housing, utilities and the basics of life for their families.
Ann Stevens and Kim Wade put forth the concept that we are all part of a social investment by helping individuals and families escape poverty.
The Food Bank and our partner agencies are excited about expanding the role we have in making long-term differences to the people we serve, while simultaneously improving our society as a whole.