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It Is Holiday Food Drive Time!

As we approach the end of August, the volume of food drive food we have to sort/box and distribute is greatly reduced. We always worry that we will have to cancel volunteer groups in September and October. But more importantly, is the question “Will we have the variety and volume of nonperishable food we need to feed our community”?

Along comes mid-September and the requests for holiday barrels. The phones start ringing, the emails and faxes starting arriving and we start working fast and furious. Yes, we do look forward to the holidays every year. When you look at August and see all of our barrels in the racks and then you look at November and December and all of the barrels are full just waiting to be sorted and the food distributed, you know your hard work was all worth it! We receive many thank you notes from those we help and to read the letters and go to a food distribution and see the smiles is the confirmation that we as a community are making a difference and ARE “Working to end hunger”.

August 2011

What we wish for every holiday season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For everything you need to host your own food drive, visit the food drive section of our site.

Health and Wellness at the Food Bank

If the key to successfully helping others is to take care of yourself then the Food Bank staff has a bit of work cut out for them.

When we are not busy making sure that the food we order from our distributors is low in sodium, fat and sugar, the Nutrition and Wellness committees have stepped up their efforts to make some positive health changes for the staff.

The first task at hand for the Nutrition committee was to improve the nutrition content of the snack items found in our vending machines. The goal of attaining a 50/50 mix of healthier snack options versus non healthy was an easy  task to accomplish with our current vending machine operator who was more than happy to supply us with an array of healthier alternatives that meet the Fit Pick criteria. Fit Pick™ nutritional criteria are based on the recommendations of the: American Heart Association, 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Thanks to the nutrition committee, we now have super yummy snacks that are baked instead of fried, lower in sugar, fat and salt.

Fit Pick™ products are lower in fat and sugar with criteria for adults of 35-10-35 which means no more than:

35% of total calories from fat

10% of calories from saturated fat

35% of total product weight from sugar

Generally speaking, our health is a mirror of our daily habits and with that in mind the Wellness committee will encourage sedentary staff to move just a little bit more every day. Whether it’s standing up at their desks , taking  15 minute walks in the morning and afternoon,  taking the stairs faster or two at a time there is always something more that can be done to burn a few extra calories that don’t require a gym membership or special equipment.

To help us with our healthy ambitions please keep us in mind if you know someone who would like to donate an unused or under-used Elliptical machine that Food Bank staff will use during breaks. Maybe it’s currently serving as a clothes rack instead of its intended purpose as exercise equipment.

So if anyone out there has or knows of someone who has an Elliptical that they would like to donate to the food bank staff to help encourage a healthier lifestyle or “Healthstyle” please feel free to contact Veronica Wimer at vwimer@foodbankccs.org or 925-677-7012.

If you love our work then tell the world!

You have an exciting opportunity to help the Food Bank make even more of a difference for the community. GreatNonprofits – a site like Yelp – is conducting a contest to find the top-rated nonprofits working to end homelessness or hunger. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes!

How does the Food Bank feed people in need?

The Food Bank distributes emergency and supplemental food to people in need and local charities. Each week we will focus on a different program and talk about what the program is and what kind of food is distributed through each program. Read on to learn about our Brown Bag Program.

What is the Brown Bag Program?

Low-income senior citizens in Contra Costa and Solano counties receive free groceries twice per month. The groceries supplement the food that seniors are able to buy on their own, stretching their precious dollars further.

There are 3 criteria in order to participate:
1. Members must be 55 years of age or older.
2. Members must reside in a low income household that meets the state income guidelines.
3. Members must reside in Contra Costa or Solano County.

What is in a Food bag?
People who receive a bag of food at one of our Brown Bag distributions typically take home – canned fruits, canned vegetables, tuna, pasta beans or rice, fresh produce, bread.

How does the Food Bank feed people in need?

The Food Bank distributes emergency and supplemental food to people in need and local charities. Each week we will focus on a different program and talk about what the program is and what kind of food is distributed through each program. Read on to learn about our Food For Children Program.

What is Food For Children (FFC)?
The program serves children who have been rolled off of the federal government’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program (for children aged 4 and under), but have not yet begun school, where they are eligible for free breakfast and/or lunch through the federally subsidized school meal programs. The program complements the efforts of the WIC program and is heartily endorsed by WIC staff, who make referrals to the FFC program. Food Bank program staff and volunteers work with WIC staff to identify parents who need both protein and iron rich foods for their children. Every month enrollees receive a food box at one of our 9 FFC distribution sites. Over 515,000 pounds of healthy, nutritious, ‘kid friendly’ food was given away to the 707 children enrolled in the program last year. All participants come from low income households. We use the WIC income eligibility guidelines (185% of U.S. poverty income). 80% of the enrollees are referred to the program by WIC.
Program goals are to improve the nutritional status of children and to maintain the nutritional integrity of foods we provide to very low-income children. Volunteers assemble boxes of food in our warehouse. Food bank drivers deliver the boxes to the distribution sites. Volunteers assist at the sites by signing in the parents, packaging the perishable food items and by giving the boxes of food to eligible recipients.

Food For Children distribution in Bay Point

What is in a Food bag/box?
People who receive a bag/box of food at one of our Food For Children distributions typically take home – cereal, macaroni and cheese, rice, beans, pasta, tuna, canned chicken, canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned soup, ready to eat meals, snack, milk, produce, bread.

Just ask an employee.

Learn more about the people who work at the Food Bank.
We will ask the same seven questions to different staff members each month.

1. Name: Larry Sly
2. What is your position at the Food Bank? Executive Director
3. How long have you worked at the Food Bank? 33 years (and counting)
4. How/Why did you start working here? I started as the truck driver (the number 2 position) when the entire staff was two people.
5. Why do you enjoy working at the Food Bank? I love working here because every day is different and we are absolutely doing the right thing.
6. What do you like to do in your free time? What is free time? (I like to exercise, read and go hiking/backpacking)
7. Tell us one interesting fact about yourself. I went to college at UC Berkeley from 1968-72 (shortly after the Free Speech Movement). It was still an incredibly active political time; I was tear-gassed more than once.

Photo of Larry accepting a donation from two girls last year.

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 www.foodbankccs.org.

Just ask an employee.

Learn more about the people who work at the Food Bank.
We will ask the same seven questions to different staff members each month.

1. Name: Don McCall

2. What is your position at the Food Bank? Grants Coordinator

3. How long have you worked at the Food Bank? 5 years

4. How/Why did you start working here? I was drafted while doing volunteer work during one of my several periods of unemployment.

5. Why do you enjoy working at the Food Bank? I like to feel that I am helping people who need a helping hand.

6. What do you like to do in your free time? Play the keyboards (music not computer).

7. Tell us one interesting fact about yourself. I’ve been to 30 countries on 4 continents. I’ve scuba dived to a depth of 200 feet.


Here’s a photo of Don and a tour group back when he started at the Food Bank.


This is Don dressed as the AT&T mascot, Patches, at the ABC7/Safeway Share Your Holiday Food Drive event.

What is the Food Bank?

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has been serving the communities of Contra Costa and Solano counties for over 30 years. We provide food to 98,000 hungry people in need every month through a network of 180 charitable agencies, and distribute about 9.6 million pounds a year, enough food for 7.68 million meals! The Food Bank works to reduce food waste, feed hungry people, and raise public awareness of issues related to food and hunger. The work could not get done without the help of the hundreds of volunteers that donate their time to coordinate food drives, sort and pack the food, and help distribute it to their hungry neighbors. To learn more about the Food Bank and the work we do or to find out how you can help, please visit us on the web at www.foodbankccs.org or give us a call at 800-870-FOOD.