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Amazing Events Help Us Feed People In Need

Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: One of the most interesting things I have found in my time with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is how diverse people’s interests can be. A big part of my job is to raise community support for the Food Bank’s work, so our job is to find ways we can join with other groups, each with distinct interests, to help feed our neighbors in need.

During the holiday season, we participate in some amazing events that help us feed people in need. Some examples include:

  • Instead of having a golf tournament, the Valero Benicia Refinery had a clay pigeon shoot. Refinery employees and their subcontractors raised money while having target practice.
  • We received funds from the annual coin show put on by the Diablo Numismatic Society.
  • Local realtors have networking groups and the Food Bank benefitted from the holiday parties of the Contra Costa Realtors in Motion and the Realtors Marketing Association of San Ramon.
  • Sunset Development provides financial support during their Christmas tree lighting.
  • Donations came from the Western States Petroleum Association’s holiday party
  • The Food Bank received money raised from the offering taken at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church during their performance of Handel’s Messiah.
Valero Clay Pigeons

Valero Benicia Refinery employees and their subcontractors raised money while having target practice.

While this list is just a sample of the way people help us in our work (and I apologize to the many people I did not include) it demonstrates that thousands of people with a wide range of interests agree that hunger should not exist in our community. I think everyone involved with the Food Bank knows, as a community we can do better. There should not be hungry children, there should not be hungry adults and there should not be hungry seniors. Hunger is unacceptable.

Give Where You Live and Join us for a Party with ABC7 at the Food Bank!

Join the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano (today!) December 10th between 4:00 and 7:00 pm as ABC7 broadcasts live from our warehouse in Concord. ABC7 will be live telling stories from Food Bank clients, member agencies, donors and volunteers. We will have pizza thanks to California Pizza Kitchen, games, and a festive atmosphere. Come by, bring a donation and meet Spencer Christian weather forecaster for ABC7 News at 4 and 6. Special appearance by Chef Ryan Scott (Food Rush) who will be discussing two recipes with Spencer during the 6 p.m. newscast. Attached are the recipes, cost per whole dish, and cost per serving breakdown for the carrot soup and shepherd’s pie.

For directions to the party click here !

Sponsors Are Critical in the Fight Against Hunger

At the Food Bank, we are careful stewards of the money donated to us, ensuring that as much as possible goes to providing food to the people we serve. Savvy donors have been using sites such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar to make more informed decisions about where to donate their dollars.  We have to ask ourselves often “are we putting donations raised to the best use possible?”

One of the factors that enables us to put 95 cents out of every dollar raised directly into food assistance programs is our connection to the local business community.  Sponsorship opportunities help us not only purchase nearly half the food we distribute, but also afford the necessary items we need to spread the word about our work. It allows us to promote and acknowledge local businesses, strengthening our ties to the community.

For instance, to spread the word out about our recent event Empty Bowls, we wanted to print materials to distribute to potential guests. We carefully source a good price for printing, then reach out to potential supporters.  We were fortunate to have Appel Law Firm in Walnut Creek become our print sponsor for Empty Bowls. They were happy to help, and saw it as an opportunity to support our mission. Thanks to Appel Law Firm, we were able to give your registration fee a lot more hunger-fighting power!

In addition to the print sponsor, Chevron bought bowls for the event and even came out to paint them, add those to bowls donated by Clay Planet of Santa Clara and the Walnut Creek Clay Arts Guild, bread donated by Panera Bread, soups donated by local agencies and businesses, media sponsorship supplied by CBS5 and Diablo Magazine, and what do you have?  An event where the bottom line is all about the people we serve.

We could not move forward with our mission to end hunger without the generous support of the local business community.

If you would like to become a sponsor, we have many options available. Please contact Kathy Gleason, kgleason@foodbankccs.org for more information.

Local Businesses Shared the Holiday Spirit

Bowles and Verna Holiday Fundraiser

We wanted to take a moment to thank businesses throughout Contra Costa and Solano for the many creative ways they raise money and awareness about the issue of hunger throughout the year.  Whether it is a portion of the proceeds for their goods or services, a grand-opening event, a special menu created just for us, having collection barrels for food donations, or sponsoring a special event, without their support it would be very difficult, if not impossible to maintain our mission and get nutritious food on the table for the many families, children and seniors that we serve.

In December there was an outpouring of giving through fundraisers and parties, for instance things were Rockin’ in San Ramon at Shboom night club!  Tan Angels of Walnut Creek and Shboom partnered to throw a party to raise money and food  for our food bank and receive toys for Toys for Tots.  The event was hosted by Wayne Coy of KKIQ, there was live music by bands Ruckatan and Caravanserai, a Santana tribute band, DJ Bene, Santa, games for kids, an auction and a grab bag of gifts and prizes.  Tan Angels and Shbooms definitely brought the ‘fun’ to their fundraiser and raised over $300.00 through donations!

Another great supporter of the Food Bank is Wood Group Field Services.  They invite friends and clients to join them on an annual Feed the Hungry Fishing Trip out of Berkeley harbor.  The hearty participants braved December’s blustery weather to take part in the festivities which included rock fishing and the opening of crab season (who doesn’t look forward to that?!).  Each fisherman could bring home up to 6 Dungeness crab and a sack full of fish!  To take part in this event Wood Group asked that everyone donate $10 in support of the Food Bank.  Now that’s dedication!

There were a wealth of holiday parties, where the spirit of giving and celebration went hand in hand.  We would like to thank Bowles and Verna  LLP for making us the beneficiary of their holiday party donations, as well as the employees and management at Brinderson professional services for energy, where managers personally matched employee  contributions. We would also like to thank Nan Brace and her Jazzercise group, Atria Living, and Western States Petroleum Association for asking everyone to bring a check to their holiday party, ready to donate!  We would also like to thank the Merry Mixers and Kathy Monthei, the CCC Bar Association Open House for their holiday donations and to Moffatt and Nichol who donated grocery store gift cards to us.

Every dollar raised provided two healthy meals for those in need during the holidays.  Thank you all for your amazing efforts to give back to your community!

Tesoro Goes Above and Beyond

Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery is a longtime supporter of the Food Bank that consistently looks for ways to raise awareness and support.  For example, this year Tesoro sponsored the Food Bank in a banner program with the City of Concord and Chamber of Commerce.  Fifteen banners advertising the Food Bank were displayed throughout the city on light posts.  The banners raise awareness and remind us that no one should go hungry throughout the year.

Tesoro has also been instrumental in raising awareness and support through various programs throughout the year where they match public dollars for donations. Beyond just giving money, Tesoro invests a lot of hands-on time with events like Kidfest, where Tesoro matched dollar for dollar (up to $5,000) per pound of food donated or dollar of donation received.  In partnership with Concord High School, Tesoro and over 100 students collected over 17,000 pounds of food in two hours trick or treating for it on Halloween night.  Again, Tesoro matched dollar for dollar (up to $5,000).  During the year, other events such as Taking the World by Storm and An Afternoon in the Admiral’s Garden continued to raise awareness and support the mission of the Food Bank. Every year refinery employees meet up for an event called Bay Area Refinery Motorcycle Run/Food Drive, chaired by Tesoro employee Chris McDowell, where local refineries collect food and funds for the Food Bank then celebrate their efforts with a motorcycle and classic-car ride ending in a BBQ with entertainment and raffle to benefit the Food Bank.  Many Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery employees also volunteer their time to sort food and serve the Food Bank as exemplified by Environmental Health & Safety Manager, Claire Spencer, who serves on the Food Bank’s Board of Directors as Secretary.

Tesoro and Golden Eagle strives to improve the quality of life in the surrounding community.  Over half a million dollars was invested in 2012 into local charities by employees’ personal donations, as well as, the company charitable fund contributions.  Over fifty charities were supported in 2012 and employees donated over 4,000 volunteer hours.

We thank Tesoro for their continued support and invite you to find out how your company can get involved at the Food Bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September Events Recap

September was full of fun events that people enjoyed while supporting the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Our Special Events Manager, Renee, tells you all about them. For more information on these events or future events, please visit the events page of our website.

It was a gorgeous Sunday at Winterhawk Winery on September 4th where we were invited to spend the day and share about our Food Bank. The winery was filled with people who came out to support us while enjoying the wine and music. The band (Coast to Coast) had the crowd off their feet and dancing to their favorite songs. The guests were able to visit a few vendors to check out plants and jewelry from local vendors such as Boucher Plants, Alptowne  Accents and Pat’s Purple Geranium. Our raffle was a hit with a signed Brian (Bearded) Wilson baseball and other great prizes. Thanks to Winterhawk for donating a portion of the wine sales to our food bank.

KGO Newstalk 810 joined forces with Bay Area Food Banks to fight hunger on Friday, September 16th with a live radio event dedicated to raising awareness and much needed funds for local food banks in all nine Bay Area counties. This one day event was a huge success helping us to share our stories and mission to so many people in our community as well as raising much needed monetary donations for our neighbors in need.

Contra Costa Builders Exchange hosted their Annual Golf Tournament benefitting our Food Bank. It was warm and sunny for golfers on September 23rd at Shadow Lakes Golf Club in Brentwood. Over 70 golfers played the course the rewarded themselves with an evening of dinner, raffle and awards. CCBX as well as the staff of Shadow Lakes Golf Club made the day a memorable one.

The Willows Theatre Company put on another wonderful Sing for Your Supper event on Saturday September 24th. J’LaChic had the whole place out of their seats and on their feet dancing to the music of Motown. Many thanks to Esses Productions and Willows Theatre Company for putting together a great event. In case you missed it: The final Sing for Your Supper of the series will be held on Nov. 5th.

Our local refineries (Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery, Shell Oil Products US, Valero Benicia Refinery and ConocoPhillips) as well as S&S held a food drive beginning August 1st and ending with a 10 year anniversary celebration fundraiser on September 17th. The 10th Year Anniversary started at the Food Bank with motorcycle run ending at the Shell Clubhouse raising much needed funds for our upcoming holidays. It was a great day filled with food, music, raffle and fun. Their continued support has made a huge difference in helping us help our community.

 

Food Bank Ambassadors

The Ambassadors are a unique kind of volunteer at the Food Bank. They serve as a public face for us to local businesses, community organizations, social clubs, and at events as well as being an advocate for the Food Bank’s programs and services.

Food Bank Ambassador Linda Elsdon tabling at Fentons in Vacaville

On this one-year anniversary of the Food Bank Ambassador program, we think back to the many events our Ambassadors have joyfully attended on our behalf such as the Wells Fargo Annual Volunteer Fair, National Train Day in Martinez, Richmond’s Music on the Main, Celebrate Everyday Heroes Golf Tournament in Orinda, Music in the Park at Suisun City Library, “Healthy Sunday” in Pittsburg, Winterhawk Winery in Suisun and they will attend the upcoming Kaiser Richmond Employee Wellness Fair and the Loma Vista Farm Harvest Festival.

Some of these volunteers have bilingual skills to help us reach more of our Spanish-speaking donors and clients, but we hope to increase that number, especially in West and East Contra Costa County.

Thanks to our Ambassadors, the Food Bank is able to increase our outreach at schools, business fairs, and other community events every year. To learn more about our ambassador program, please contact Patty at pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org or (925) 676-7543 extension 243.