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Community Members are Connected in a Variety of Ways to Our Efforts to Feed People

Originally posted in The Vacaville Reporter:  Nearly four decades ago, when I started working at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano I didn’t realize how large a role the organization would play in the community. As the years have passed, the Food Bank has become a well-recognized resource for helping those in need in the community. Because of that recognition, people lend their support to our mission to end hunger.

Community members are connected in a variety of ways to our efforts to feed people. For those who have the time to do hands-on work, we ask volunteers to sort food, bag produce and assist with our remote distributions. Distributing nearly twenty million pounds of food means we need to address logistical issues, including trucking, food storage and running efficient distribution programs. For all these tasks, we depend on volunteers.

We also rely on volunteers to help us obtain the food we need. Food drives are organized year round because hunger exists year round. Our food drives range from the major effort organized by the National Association of Letter Carriers every May or the Boy Scouts each November to food collections done by individuals. Gardeners grow extra vegetables in their back yard to share with their neighbors in need. Businesses organize food collections as a way to give back to their community. We receive over a million pounds of food every year from a generous community, while we engage people in helping end hunger.

We are also lucky that a generous community helps us raise the money we need to distribute the food we gather. Gathering the support we need also goes from large to small, with the total effort being important to our work. We organize events like golf tournaments, motorcycle runs, or Uncorked, a food and wine afternoon at GV Cellars in Fairfield on August 3. Events like Uncorked bring people together to help the Food Bank, creating a sense of community around a common cause. Giving to charitable causes is an important part of many people’s lives, and they know the Food Bank plays an important role in improving our community.

Many people learn the habit of giving early in life. I talked to someone yesterday who shared the story of their nine year old daughter who sold wrist bands to her friends to raise money to buy food for the Food Bank. Her parents and grandparents matched the money she raised, helping her buy more food to bring to the Food Bank. When she brought the food to us, she saw how her donation became part of a bigger effort to help. Our work is possible because we connect with those in the community who want to see an end to hunger.

Better Homes Fills the Cupboards

Last year, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Mason-McDuffie in Antioch conducted neighborhood food drives and stood in front of grocery stores to collect over 3,200 pounds of food. This year they were determined to go way above and beyond to collect over 6,000 items for their annual Company Giving Day on Saturday, March 10th.

Melisa Case spearheaded the drive which included some social media campaigning. On February 4th they started with 1 barrel and some paper bags, but with early success, they quickly added 2 barrels and 400 bags on February 21st, then 3 barrels and another 400 bags on February 23rd, and another 7 barrels and more bags on March 1st. Their final delivery meant 10 barrels were needed to collect all the food by only March 6th. Did they reach the 6,000 item mark? YES and every day they counted the incoming donations to keep the momentum going. This picture only shows part of the collection and all of the wonderful Realtors determined to fight hunger. Their slogan should be: Realtors not only show houses, they show they care about the community!