The generous support from the community makes the work of Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano possible. What we ask is quite straightforward; we need people to donate food, give volunteer time or donate money. By combining those three things together, in different amounts from different people, we distributed over twenty million pounds of food to people in need last year. The amazing thing for me is the creative ways people find to tie their personal style to helping us in our work.
For example, part of being a Boy Scout is doing a “good turn”. Boy Scouts know that they have a responsibility to improve their community, so the national organization endorses the Scouting for Food drive. Scout troops reach out to their neighbors, placing door hangers on people’s front doors. They come back the following week, picking up bags of food the community wants to share. Scouting for Food is an incredible one-day effort, brings the Food Bank over 130,000 pounds of food. Coming in the middle of November, this donated food gives us a perfect start providing food donations to the charities preparing to distribute holiday baskets.
Behind the volunteer work the Scout troops are doing, the Food Bank provides the support they need to succeed. Scout troops pick up the food donations with their parents on Saturday, November 15 and they return it to a central location (usually a church or school parking lot) where the Food Bank has placed bins to collect the food. Scout troops are at those locations as well, overseeing the consolidation of the donations. Food comes in to these collections sites all day, and then the Food Bank trucks pick food up and bring it back to our warehouse.
Scouting for Food brings in more than three trailer loads of food which we need to distribute quickly. Volunteers from corporations, service clubs, faith communities (and even some Scout troops) come to our warehouse to help sort the donations we have received. Volunteers sort the food into seventeen different categories, putting things like peanut butter, tuna, canned fruit and canned vegetables in separate boxes. With this sorting done, Food Bank partner agencies receive the food they need to help the people they feed during the holidays.
The effort involved in getting the food from Scouting for Food into the hands of hungry people is done mostly by volunteers. Volunteer Scouts collect the food and we help by transporting what they have raised. Community volunteers come to our warehouse to sort the food. Staff members roll bins of unsorted food into the sorting room so volunteers can prepare it for the volunteer-run agencies that provide food to those in need. These incredible volunteers enable us to supply millions of pounds of donated food to a community in need.