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Boy Scout Gets His Community to Give Back

Guest post by Jenay Ross, USC journalism student: An important value and tradition of the Boys Scouts of America is helping the community. Ethan Lipson, a senior at Alhambra High School in Martinez, found himself at the Food Bank when he was in search of places where he could do an Eagle Project, or service project.

His scout master suggested a food drive for Ethan’s project, so he went to the Food Bank where they told him they still needed food for the summer. He led and organized a food drive in his neighborhood, reaching out to 900 homes. With the help of other boy scouts, they dropped bags off at houses and posted the specific day they would pick up the donated food, if they wanted to participate.

A week after they dropped off bags, Ethan and his fellow boy scouts ended up collecting about 1,400 pounds of food. “Some houses left literally 50 pounds of food,” he said, “People who really wanted to give back to the community were the ones that helped out the most.”

With his senior year approaching, his attention is shifting towards getting into college. “I need to focus on colleges and where I want to go. That’s my main priority,” he said. He plans on applying to Saint Mary’s, San Jose State, Santa Barbara State, San Francisco State and more. He’s mainly looking for a school where he can play soccer. Not only has he been playing since the age of four, but he is also on the varsity team in high school for the fourth year.

Although he’ll be plenty busy between applying to colleges and then attending next fall, he still plans on helping those in need. “I probably will help out the community from where I’ll be at,” Ethan said.

Ethan at the Food Bank

AT&T Supports Holiday Food Drive

We barely turn around at the Food Bank before it is time to start planning for the next holiday season.  Thanks to the incredible support we receive from the people at AT&T, we got a jump start on the 2011 holiday need because of the support AT&T offered this month.

Ken Mintz brought a check for $15,000 that will help us obtain the bags, barrels, posters, flyers and other materials we need to motivate the community to give.  We depend on the food donations provided by the community to make our work possible.  The support AT&T offers helps us bring the community together so we can help our neighbors in need.

AT&T donation

AT&T supports the Food Bank in many ways. Here Ken Mintz presents Larry with a donation for Holiday Food Drive.

What’s better than a couple lattes? A bag of food!

Safeway Stores has a special food drive campaign where for $10 I can buy a prepacked bag of food which will be donated to the Food Bank. Those that know me, know I love coffee so I decided if I only had a latte once a day (instead of twice a day), in 3 days I could buy a $10 bag with the money I would have spent on myself. Now I can buy a bag of groceries for someone else! And I didn’t even miss the afternoon latte. It just shows how if we all gave up something small, we could help fill up these barrels.

The food drive ends on Sunday July 24th so let’s all buy a bag and fill up these empty barrels. Food Drive time during the summer is slow so with just a $10 bag (and 3 less lattes) I can make a huge difference in someone elses life. And I didn’t even miss the lattes and those I work with were happier because I had a bit less energy and a bit more focused. Thanks Safeway for helping those in need!

Safeway Summer Food Drive

Fashionistas to Help Feed Families

Guest post by Barbara Glass – Publicity Coordinator, GFWC Clayton Valley Woman’s Club: On April 2nd, the GFWC Clayton Valley Woman’s Club (CVWC) hosted their Sixth Annual Festival of Tables and Fashion Show. The event benefiting the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano was a huge success. Over 184 women attended the sold-out event coordinated by chairperson Merle Whitburn and her committee. They enjoyed lunch catered by Rick’s on Second of Antioch and were waited on by husbands, sons and friends of club members outfitted handsomely in black slacks, white shirts and black bow ties.

Club members individually decorated 23 tables for the “festival of tables” that included different festive and whimsical themes such as Spring has Sprung, It’s a Froggy, Froggy World, A Day at the Beach, and Hearts and Flowers.

Coldwater Creek of Walnut Creek presented the fashion show. Models were CVWC members and Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano staff/volunteers. There was a mix of casual and dressy fashions from the popular Broadway Plaza store that were perfect for Bay Area living and traveling.

Attendees purchased tickets for wonderful silent auction and raffle prizes. There were over 34 baskets filled with goodies donated by club members and local businesses and assembled by club members plus many silent auction items donated from local organizations. Proceeds from the event totaled over $6,000 and benefited the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano which distributes food through various nonprofit programs that serve low income communities.

Models at Clayton Valley Woman's Club Benefit Fashion Show

Pictured Here (Left to right):  Alice Jordan – CVWC charter member, Donna Sullivan – daughter of CVWC member, Carmen Williams – CVWC member, Joyce Attkinson – CVWC member, Marilyn Fitzgerald – former CVWC member, Susan Stillings – Food Bank volunteer, Linda Waxman – Food Bank ambassador, Judy Bradford – Food Bank board member, and Veronica Wimer – Food Bank staff member.

Res Ipsa Jokuitor – Kickoff for Food from the Bar

Guest post by Kerstin Firmin, Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Communications Coordinator: Res Ipsa Jokuitor, the Comedy Night kickoff event for Food from the Bar, was a rib-splitting success.

The mood in the Back Forty BBQ banquet room was festive as more than 130 guests mingled, ready to be entertained by comedians Rocky LaPorte and Andrew Norelli. Food from the Bar Planning Committee Chair Ed Shaffer of Archer Norris and Lisa Reep, Executive Director of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, along with other committee members were on hand to greet guests and sponsors, including Archer Norris, Gilardi & Co., Nevin, Ramos & Steele, and U.S. Legal Support.

A delicious dinner of BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken and all the appropriate fixings, provided by Back Forty BBQ, quieted the crowd long enough for MC Justice James Marchiano to kick off the program.

Larry Sly, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, thanked those in attendance for their efforts over the past 16 years to provide much needed food and funds to Contra Costa and Solano residents. Sly shared statistics on hunger that surprised many of those assembled, noting that nearly 1/3 of all children in Contra Costa and Solano experience hunger on a daily basis.

Sly was followed by comedian Andrew Norelli. Norelli, a Danville resident and Northern California native soon had the crowd laughing at their own expense. Norelli drew heavily on his local knowledge and family life to keep the crowd smiling. Showing no fear of the legal system, he quickly made Justice Marchiano the target of many lighthearted barbs.

Following Norelli on stage was Rocky LaPorte. LaPorte whose credits include the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Comedy Central Specials, hit the crowd hard with his Chicago style humor. Like Norelli, La Porte seemed especially taken by Justice Marchiano, seeking reassurance frequently – “Isn’t that right, Judge?”

The event marked the beginning of the two-week long competitive food drive which has raised more than $800,000 and 54 tons of food for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano since its inception 16 years ago. Eager to hit this year’s goal of $100,000 and 10,000 pounds of food, the food drive began at the door: Comedy Night attendees were asked to bring canned goods for the chance to win great door prices. Almost 180 pounds of beef stew were collected that night – a great start!

Food From the Bar Comedy NightFood From the Bar Comedy Night

To see more photos, visit the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Facebook album: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.206303136068208.55826.156293777735811.

Stamp Out Hunger

The community of Clayton and Moraga must love their post offices because they always bring food to the food bank barrels in the lobby year round. The wonderful letter carriers and window clerks know that hunger affects many people in our counties.

On Saturday May 14th, the Clayton and Moraga Post Office letter carriers and letter carriers  in our two counties and around the country will make collecting food easy. When they deliver your mail, have a bag of food by your mailbox for them to take back to the Food Bank truck and volunteers waiting at the post office. Last year, our letter carriers  collected over 209,000 pounds of food in one day for those in need in our two counties.

Clayton Post Office

Clayton Post Office

Moraga Post Office

Moraga Post Office

Together, we can all STAMP OUT HUNGER!

Happy Birthday Mother Earth!

Every day at the Food Bank is Earth Day as we recycle aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, paper bags, plastic bags, shrink wrap and cardboard. But what we do best is help to reduce food waste. Here are some examples:

1. We work with several grocery stores and large food companies that give us their product as it approaches an expiration date. It can be bread, fresh produce, meat or nonperishable items. Why throw it away when they can give the food to us and we can get it out to people in need. The product is still good but the store wants to move their product along so we help them reduce their own food waste.

2. We welcome fresh produce from people’s yards as that helps us have more fresh produce for those in need. In the last month we have received thousands of pounds of grapefruit, oranges and lemons not to mention some home grown lettuce and other greens.

3. We pay a reduced price for our purchased produce so that we can buy more and make our money go further. Our fresh produce is not as pretty as you would find in a store but we say it tastes just as good if not better! Because of the reduced price, we often find oranges that are split open or apples that are very badly bruised. We no longer have to throw the bad produce into our garbage as we have choices of what to do with it:

  • The Oakland Zoo purchases fresh produce for their animals. We contacted them over three years ago and found out they would be very pleased to have our discards. We say we give them the “best of the bad” as they need produce that is not moldy or not been broken open. The bison love our badly bruised apples and the elephants are happy to eat our overly soft oranges.
  • Loma Vista Farm in Vallejo (an educational farm definitely worth visiting) not only uses apples for Oreo and Keebler, the cows, they will compost any produce the farm animals won’t eat (oranges are not that popular with the animals).
  • A local pig farmer says his pigs love our bad apples (and they don’t mind if they are moldy, broken open or badly bruised). We even provide him grain through our “Piggy Potluck” project. Sometimes we receive food drive products that are far past expiration and we can’t give that to those in need. So we take the dry products such as pasta, rice, dry beans, jello, cake mixes, and moldy bread and open the packages and mix all of the dry products together. The pig farmer will add water to this dry product which will then serve as grain for the pigs. We recycle all of the plastic and cardboard packaging so we not only are feeding pigs, we are reducing our garbage.

One of our friends in all that we do is Jennifer from Allied Waste in Pacheco. Jennifer says “We should be recycling for the earth’s sake”. And at the end of the day it is the right thing to do and makes us all feel good. Just like reading our Food Bank news online, you too are making a change to reduce our footprint on earth.

Rita at Loma Vista Farm

Oreo and Keebler

Chris at Oakland Zoo

Sprint In Action

What better way to start the morning than picking up 731 pounds of food and $160 from a Sprint Marketing meeting! My contact, Laurie Capriotti, used this all day meeting as a kickoff for their big Sprint food drive in May. Every person arriving at the meeting had at least one bag of food and some had several bags. The warehouse certainly didn’t expect this much food (I must say I was hopeful for 400 pounds) but when I had to bring out a 4th and 5th barrel, I knew they had certainly gone above and beyond our expectations. And to also pass around an envelope and collect $160 is amazing. Our Wednesday regular sorting group took the food right out of the van and sorted it all today so the food is already being pulled for orders to go out to some of our  member agencies next week.  Way to go Sprint!

CA Egg Farmers Donate 25,290 Eggs to Food Bank

Northern California’s own NuCal Foods donated more than 25,000 eggs to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano last week to help families in need – just in time for the Easter holiday.

Larry Sly our Executive Director says: “We are trying our best to give the people we serve the best nutrition possible. Because of the generosity of the egg farmers we can provide high protein food to the people in our community who need help.”

United Egg Producers and Feeding America food banks (like ours) are teaming up in the fight against hunger for the fourth year in a row. Egg farmers nationwide donated nearly 12 million eggs. NuCal Foods — an agricultural cooperative of multi-generation family-owned farms — has donated more than 1.3 million eggs to help feed people in California in the last four years. That’s a lot of eggs!

eggs

According to the USDA eggs have much less cholesterol than previously thought and have more vitamin D.  Fun egg fact: every egg has 13 essential nutrients including the highest quality protein – choline, folate, iron and zinc – with only 75 calories.

Every type of agency from soup kitchens to shelters and pantries to day cares look forward to getting eggs from the Food Bank. This donation will mean our Food Purchaser, Veronica Wimer, will not have to buy eggs for our member agencies for a month or two! Did you even know the Food Bank distributed eggs? Isn’t that egg-citing! (Sorry but I had to.) What is your favorite egg recipe? Post below or to our facebook page.

Bunny Bucks

Give your special someone Bunny Bucks this Easter and help the Food Bank! Exclusively sold by California Pacific Federal Credit Union, your $3.50 Bunny Buck purchase includes a gift card, envelope and $2 bill Bunny Buck. This is real spendable currency. Proceeds to benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Available only at California Pacific FCU, 4075 Nelson Avenue in Concord. Surprise the kids and grandkids! Limited supply – hop to it today!