Originally posted in The Vacaville Reporter on 9/4/2012 – When I started working as a truck driver at the Community Food Coalition in 1976, I had no idea that, 36 years later, I would be the executive director of an organization that has become the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
We have grown from a small nonprofit that had two employees distributing food from a borrowed 40-foot trailer into an organization that today has 56 employees distributing 17 million pounds of food from two 30,000-square-foot warehouses.
We continue with the same work of providing food to emergency pantries, soup kitchens, faith communities and more than 180 other nonprofit organizations that give food to people in need.
In addition, we have direct service programs that provide food to low-income children, senior citizens and people in the community who need help. Through these efforts, we are helping more than 132,000 people each month in Solano and Contra Costa counties.
As good as we are at getting food to people in need, we recognize that we need to address the reasons people keep coming to us for food. We now do outreach for the Cal Fresh program (formerly known as food stamps). Nearly half the people who could be receiving this important assistance do not participate. They either do not understand that they are eligible or they are overwhelmed by the paperwork required to receive this assistance. When we help them enroll, we are giving them the ability to buy the food they need for their families.
We are also joining with others who are fighting hunger so that the community understands the situation hungry people face.
September is Hunger Action Month and we have joined our national organization, Feeding America, in a campaign to Speak Out Against Hunger. We are doing something every day in September to show that the community can fight hunger “30 Ways in 30 Days,” Whether someone is donating food to the Food Bank or writing a letter to an elected official, they are making a difference.
I am proud of the work the food bank does, but we need to do more. Hunger will stop when the community makes it happen. Join us in Hunger Action Month. Make a difference.
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The author is executive director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, based in Concord. To learn more about the Food Bank and how you can Speak Out Against Hunger, visit www.foodbankccs.org/hungeractionmonth.