Tag ‘ Feeding America ’

Surplus produce goes to those in need

I spent the first week of May at the Feeding America “Appreciative Inquiry” gathering in Columbus, OH. Several hundred people came together to talk about the work we need to do together to distribute a billion pounds of surplus produce to hungry people throughout the United States. As usual, there is a great deal of work that needs to be done, but we have an incredible opportunity to help the people we serve.

Watch this video to see what I have to say about it:

Food Bank Participates in Nutrition Study

Guest post by Lindsay Johnson, Food Bank Program Director: The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is one of six California food banks currently working with researchers from UC Berkeley who are documenting current nutrition-related policies and practices in relation to the provision of foods to low income families through emergency food services. This research is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthy Eating Research, 2010-2011.

In recent years, it has become apparent that many families rely on emergency food services for more than a few days each month, and there is concern about the healthfulness of food provided through emergency food pantries in light of the obesity epidemic and concerns about diet-related chronic disease. The emergency food system has been based on the distribution of shelf stable, low/no cost food for years. This food is frequently highly processed and contains large amounts of salt and sugar.

There are 3 components to the study. All Feeding America food banks were invited to participate in a national online survey in March assessing current organizational policies regarding the nutritional quality of the food provided. Six food banks, including Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, will have their food inventory data analyzed for the period 2007-2010 to evaluate whether actual foods received and distributed have changed during this period. As part of this second component, the research team will conduct short interviews with the Executive Directors of the Food Banks and key staff members regarding the provision of healthy foods. The third component will include food pantry visits at the end of May to five emergency food pantries at each of the six food banks for a total of 30 pantry visits. At the pantry visits, the pantry director will be interviewed, and a survey team will conduct a short interviewer-administered questionnaire with 15 randomly selected clients regarding their food preferences and pantry experiences.

Participating in this survey will provide the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano with client and pantry feedback, as well as giving us the opportunity to see how we compare with our peers with regard to providing nutritious food. This study will help us assess how effective and extensive our increased distribution of produce has been throughout the communities we serve. Information provided will help us with future decisions regarding the improvement of nutrition provided by the emergency food system.

Day of Fasting

Yesterday was the national day of fasting — a fast in opposition to the proposed federal budget cuts to nutrition assistance and other safety net programs.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it all day without eating, but I did eat substantially less than I usually do. Even making it to lunch without eating wasn’t easy. But that’s the point. For the thousands of people we serve every month it is not a choice of “will I eat or not” rather “how am I going to eat or how am I going to feed my family”.

Please contact your members of Congress and tell them the federal budget must not be balanced on the backs of low-income Americans. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask for your representative and senators.

To learn more about the proposals, please visit our advocacy section of our website.

Child Hunger Ends Here™

ConAgra Foods and Feeding America (national network of food banks) are joining forces to fight child hunger this spring. Nearly one in four children in the United States does not know where his next meal is coming from. This means that more than 17 million children are at risk of hunger. But there is hope and there are ways to help.

When you purchase select ConAgra Foods products and enter a code online at, a monetary donation will be made enabling one meal to be provided to Feeding America (up to 2.5 million meals). Participating brands include Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Fresh Mixers, Kid Cuisine, Marie Callender’s and Peter Pan. Every code entered through 8/31/11 is another meal that ConAgra Foods will donate to Feeding America on behalf of local food banks to help feed a child in need.

Also, on March 19th “Child Hunger Ends Here: A Special Report”, a 30 minute special hosted by Al Roker and Natalie Morales, will premiere on select NBC stations. The special highlights the personal stories of families struggling with hunger and showcases how Americans can work together to tackle this important issue. Check local listings for viewing times. To learn more, visit

Tune in to Idol Gives Back on April 21 and Support Your Local Food Bank

The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks is among the charities that will benefit from this year’s American Idol fundraising special, Idol Gives Back. Be sure to tune in to Idol Gives Back on Wednesday, April 21 at 8/7c PM on FOX. We’re excited not only for their generosity, but also for this great opportunity to spread awareness about hunger in our country — a true national emergency! See how you can get involved in Idol Gives Back and support the fight against hunger in America.

The Emmy Award-winning television event and musical celebration will raise awareness and funds to benefit various U.S. and international charities, during the Top 7 Results Show.  Donations made to the Idol Gives Back Foundation will help the children and families most affected by these tough economic times. You can get more information about the event and hear from Season 9 Finalists on the new Idol Gives Back section of American Idol’s website ( Visitors to the page can make donations prior to the event or join the Help Me Give Back program and raise their own funds by creating individual fundraising pages or joining fundraising teams.

All of the funds raised by the Idol Gives Back Foundation and granted to Feeding America will support the campaign for a Hunger-Free America ensuring that the Feeding America network will continue the fight against hunger with innovative programming and persistent advocacy.

You’re invited

For 4 days only — March 18 -21, shop at Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Gap Outlet, and Banana Republic Factory Stores and enjoy 30% off while 5% of the amount you spend is donated to Feeding America. So in a time when our communities need it most, your shopping counts for more.

Pound For Pound Challenge

For the second consecutive year, Feeding America will partner with General Mills, Subway, 24 Hour Fitness, Walgreens, The Biggest Loser to encourage Americans to lose weight through the Pound For Pound Challenge. The program is built around the incredible success of The Biggest Loser, a reality show that challenges and encourages overweight contestants to shed pounds in a safe manner through diet and exercise. Individuals can go to to pledge their weight-loss goals or donate money to the challenge online. (Remember every $1 donated to the Food Bank provides 3 meals to people in need in our community.) For every pound pledged, the Pound for Pound Challenge sponsors will donate 14 cents to Feeding America, up to a maximum donation of $800,000. We even have a facebook group you can join to share ideas and get support.

Eat Cheesecake, Fight Hunger

The Cheesecake Factory announced that over 320,000 cans of soup were collected across all Cheesecake Factory locations nationwide during the month of September. This surpassed the original goal of 100,000 cans.

On September 30, The Cheesecake Factory held its “You Dine, We’ll Donate” event across all locations. For every guest who dined at a Cheesecake Factory on that day and donated 2 cans of soup, 10% of their guest bill was donated to local food banks. Our local Cheesecake Factory collected 187 pounds of food.

Continuing through July 2010, for every slice of The Cheesecake Factory’s Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake sold, $0.25 will be donated to Feeding America. Having tried a slice (or two) myself, I highly recommend you visit your local Cheesecake Factory and enjoy Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake!

30 ways in 30 days – Week 3

Welcome to week three of 30 ways in 30 days – ways you can fight hunger in your community every day of the week. If you missed week two, or want to jump ahead, you can find the whole month of 30 days in 30 ways at

30 Days in 30 Ways – Week 3

Sept. 14 -18: United WayWeek of Caring

Sept. 14: Follow us on twitter: and fan us on facebook:

Sept 15: Macy’s “Come Together” invites you to host a dinner party and ask guests to pledge a donation to Feeding America in place of the usual host gift through Macy’s “Come Together” website. Macy’s will generously match each donation made for the campaign. Plus tonight Macy’s will host the Wolrd’s Largest Dinner Party at your local Macy’s at 6:00 pm.

Sept. 16: Join the Food Bank’s monthly donor program.

Sept. 17: Become an advocate for hunger and poverty relief. Sign up to receive Hunger Fighter advocacy alerts from the Food Bank.

Sept. 18: Sony Pictures releases Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs today. Kids can join Flint in becoming a Hunger Helper – someone who finds ways to fight hunger in the community. Become a Hunger Helper today by making your own bookmark and even writing to your Congressman.

Sept. 19: A day-long shopping event, Macy’s – Passport, offers the opportunity for local non-profit organizations that support AIDS/HIV programs to raise funds. Participating Macy’s stores are located at Pleasanton’s Stoneridge Mall, Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza, San Francisco’s Union Square, Marin’s Corte Madera Store, Palo Alto’s Stanford Store, and Santa Clara’s Valley Fair Store. For a $10.00 ticket to the event, you will receive a special shopping discount (exclusive to Passport in Store) to be used on almost all purchases. The Food Bank will retain 100% of the direct ticket sales proceeds. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please contact Joan Tomasini at 925-771-1315 or email

Sept. 20: Host a Food Drive.

For more ideas visit our Hunger Action Month calendar online.

30 ways in 30 days – Week 1

September marks the 2nd annual Hunger Action Month, and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, along with over 200 other Feeding America food banks, is working to fight hunger in our communities. But we need your help.

Every week in September, we’ll update you on ways you can fight hunger for every day of that week. When you add it all up, you get our 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar. To kick things off, here are some simple ways you can get involved from Sept. 1 through Sept. 6.

This September, please think about what you can do to help: volunteer, donate, advocate! For more information about Hunger Action Month, these events, or just the Food Bank in general, please call 925-676-7543, email or visit us on the web at

30 Days in 30 Ways – Week 1

Sept. 1 : Give a little during Hunger Action Month and we will feed a lot of people in our community. For every dollar donated, the Food Bank is able to provide three meals to people in need. Consider giving up your coffee or lunch out this week or even this whole month and together we can feed people in our community.

Sept 2: Find out how you can help serve a meal at a local shelter or community kitchen.Sept. 3: Energize your book group around a book that focuses on the issues of hunger and poverty.

Sept. 4: Engage your elected officials and support Child Nutrition legislation while helping your food bank win a truckload of food from Kraft Foods! Earn minutes for every action you take against hunger. Learn more about the Food Bank Competition and prizes, and start making your minutes count today!

Sept. 5: Take your children to the library and check out Fly Away Home, Uncle Willy’s Soup Kitchen or another children’s book featuring the theme of hunger.

Sept. 6: Donate a grocery store gift card to your local food pantry so they can provide more for those they serve.

For more ideas visit our Hunger Action Month calendar online.