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Tag ‘ food drive ’

When Law Firms Compete Everyone Wins

Guest post by Food from the Bar Chairperson, Edward L. Shaffer of Archer Norris: The Contra Costa County Bar Association recently completed its 22nd annual Food from The Bar fundraiser for the Food Bank.  This was a special milestone year because they anticipated hitting One Million Dollars in total contributions.  While money still is trickling in, we did it and are well on the way to our second million!  Approximately 35 law offices in the County representing more than 800 employees raised more than $61,000 – for a grand total of more than $1,016,000.  Over the years participants also have collected more than 55 tons of food.

An important part of the drive was the 18th annual Comedy Night kickoff, attended by close to 200 people and headlined by noted comedian Will Durst.  Generous sponsors donated $13,500 to underwrite the event and help make the million dollar goal.  Some were new while others have been supporters for many years – and we thank them all!

Special Benefactor:
Wells Fargo

Patrons:
Archer Norris;  Liffey Network Solutions Inc.;  Newmeyer & Dillion LLP;  Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos LLP;  Timken Johnson LLP;  U.S. Legal Support

Contributors:
Certified Reporting Services;  Esquire;  Frankel Goldware Ferber;  Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss, Markowitz & Raines;  Gil Berkeley;  Law Offices of Suzanne Boucher;  MassMutual Financial Group;  Miller Starr Regalia;  Quivx;  Scott Valley Bank

In-Kind Supporters:
Back Forty Texas BBQ, Contra Costa County Bar Association, The Recorder

The Kids Run the Food Drive

Guest post by Galila Kitzes: A few weeks ago, the students of ACE Charter School– a small kindergarten through 6th grade elementary school in Vacaville – organized and ran their own food drive. ACE has a dedicated group of parents who support all kinds of community activism. But as much as we parents like to engage the kids, sometimes it’s hard to turn off our own need to control outcomes and take a chance on letting the kids do it…letting the proverbial chips fall where they may even if it’s not in pretty, well planned patterns of success.

So, we took a little risk. Students planned as much of the drive that they reasonably could. On a Friday morning five, multi-age classes planned one aspect of the food drive and a team of about 15 parents guided them through it. The parent volunteers didn’t give long explanations about how Food Banks or Food Pantries work. Instead, we asked students to tell us in their own words what they thought a food drive was – which took about 3 minutes – then they got to work. Our youngest classes decorated collection boxes for each classroom and made posters. The middle grades made fliers and ideas for meal donations instead of just single item donations. They also created an enormous chart on which to display each class’s progress for item collection. The oldest class came up with the general plan: how long the food drive would run, collection goals for each student and, of course, the prize for the classroom that collected the most items. In addition to setting up the rules of the food drive, the older students played the Wheel of Life with Houston, a Food Bank Ambassador. This game teaches kids, in a straight forward manner, how a person or a family becomes in need of emergency food assistance. Kids’ thinking evolved from seeing hunger as only an issue for the homeless to understanding how a family with a home, electricity and even a vehicle can end up hungry.

After each class had worked on its part, all five classrooms convened in the multi-purpose room, and kids from each classroom took turns explaining what they had done and what the other kids would need to do. The kids strode confidently up to microphones to speak: sometimes awkwardly and with wrong information, sometimes clearly and powerfully. The student audience listened with interest to them all. After this sharing of information and food drive planning, the kids went along their merry way to recess.

The parents left on their merry way, too. The older students decided to let the drive run for 3 weeks…how would all this work out? The students had copies of the fliers they designed …but would they just end up flying around the playground much to the chagrin of the custodian or would they make it to family, neighbors and other potential supporters? The posters the students made certainly looked cute and inspiring around the campus…but would anyone even notice them after a few days, let alone a couple of weeks? The chart had to be lugged into and out of the school daily. Would it be a source of motivation? Would the students really care about it after the novelty wore off?

What was the end result? The items came pouring in: 327 lbs the first week, 472 lbs the second week and 434 lbs the final week. One family even donated $100 for the Food Bank. The chart became the focal point for daily inspiration. Each day, kids gathered during recess and after school to count “cans” (the symbol used to represent a donated item). Parents congregated around the graph, too, interested in where their child’s class was relative to the other classes. This competition fueled their motivation, far more than posters and more than fliers. Thanks to Joan Tomasini at the Food Bank, the kids learned that 1,233 lbs of food was an unusually high amount for a school of our size (144 students) and a pride-worthy achievement.

Any school that is interested in teaching kids to be activists in their own community should consider running a food drive in this manner. Given that 1 in 4 recipients of emergency food is a child, kids have a vested interest in supporting organizations like the Food Bank.

Interact Club Decks the Halls

Guest post by Laura Gorecki: The Interact Club at San Ramon Valley High School adjunct of the Rotary of Danville volunteered their time for the benefit of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano by helping decorate one of Danville’s residence home. In the spirit of the holidays we have created a winter wonderland of lights and music. Over 30,000 lights are synchronized with holiday music to create a magical show. Everyone is invited to view the property, sing along, dance in the streets, and if so inclined they can donate non-perishable food in the barrels, located in front of the house, for the Food Bank. The first show starts at 5:30 every evening going in fifteen minute intervals until 9:30pm. The lights will be twinkling and the music will be playing until the end of the holiday season.

San Ramon Valley High School volunteers from left to right: Radhika Tandon, Kellie Kolnes, Jessica Mendez, and Kyle Cuenin.

Partnering to End Hunger

Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: Working at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has taught me that trying to feed people in need is all about relationships. We try to run the best food distribution service we can, but accomplishing that depends on volunteer support, financial support and the generosity of the community.

One of the ways we increase the work we do is when we effectively link with community partners.

We always need additional supplies of shelf-stable food, and the holiday season is an excellent opportunity to ask the community to donate the food needed to support a hungry community.

We are able to join with Safeway and Kraft Foods to create an incredibly simple way for people to help.

Safeway offers shoppers a $10 bag of Kraft and Safeway-branded food items for purchase. Safeway allows the Food Bank to place collection barrels in all of its stores so that people can buy these $10 bags and drop them in our barrels.

In addition, the Food Bank asks people to bring other food donations to these conveniently located collection sites.

The cooperation is expanding as Safeway works with NBC Bay Area to help publicize the Safeway Help Us End Hunger food drive. NBC Bay Area has organized one major collection day this Saturday. Newscasters from NBC Bay Area will be joined by local Kiwanis clubs outside of Safeway stores talking to people about the need to help end hunger.

By raising the visibility of the issue of hunger and showing people how this drive helps us feed those in need, NBC Bay Area, Safeway, Kraft Foods and Kiwanis Club members are making a difference.

Collaborative relationships between food manufacturers, retailers, media and community groups make the Safeway Help Us End Hunger food drive a success.

Trick or Treat for Food!

For the second year, Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery challenged 7 teams of Concord High School students to go door to door on Halloween night collecting food and money for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano for the Tesoro 2nd Annual Scare Away Hunger food drive. The teams of 12 students represented Cheer, Choir, Football, Leadership, Music, Soccer, and Softball. Several days before Halloween, the students delivered paper bags to their designated neighborhoods in hopes of increasing donations and thus winning bragging rights. Of course the real winners are those we serve in the community. The grand total was 10,256 pounds of food (3,600 pounds more than last year) and $1,162.05 plus a $1,000 donation from an individual who wanted to do more with their money when they heard that Tesoro would match the pounds/money up to $5,000 for the Food Bank and an additional $5,000 to the Concord High School programs.

The winning team for the food collection was Music with 2,184 pounds of food. The winning team for the money collection was Softball with $323.56. The best surprise of the evening was when a film crew from ABC7 with anchor Alan Wong showed up to film the event. Alan Wong said he thought this was a very creative way to collect food and money for the Food Bank, to involve the students in a fun and rewarding community project and to allow the community to be a part of something good.

 Thank you to Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery for sponsoring the event for a 2nd year. Thank you Ken Dami for your leadership. Thank you Principal Gary McAdam of Concord High for your leadership and getting your fantastic teachers and students involved again. Thank you students for volunteering as a team and making the 2nd year so successful. Thank you community for giving and helping those in need. Did we Scare Away Hunger? I think we did and we will do it again every Halloween until it is gone for good.

Donations of Healthy Food Make a Difference

Originally posted in the Vacaville reporter: The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano distributed 16 million pounds of food last year and we are extremely proud of the fact that 6 million of that was fresh fruits and vegetables. As part of the Food Bank’s mission, we strive to provide nutritious food to our community and fresh produce is a large part of that.

Nonperishable food items will always be a vital resource for the Food Bank and your donation of nonperishables means variety for the partner agencies we serve.

To be able to provide the community with the healthiest food possible, canned meats, whole grains, nuts, beans, canned fruits and vegetables are all great options to donate.

Some examples are:
Tuna
Peanut butter (in plastic container)
Canned chicken
Brown rice
Whole-grain dry cereals
Whole-grain pastas
Canned fruits, packed in juice instead of syrup
Dried fruits (no added sugar)
Canned soups, beans and legumes
Lentils
Low-sodium soups

Other great things to donate include whole unsalted nuts and seeds, honey and dried spices.

Protein is one of the more expensive items for the people we serve, so donation of nonperishable, quality proteins greatly helps those with limited access to these items. Canned fish and other meats are great forms of protein in a longer lasting, useful form.

When deciding what to donate, consider what you and your family and friends like to eat. Think about what kinds of pantry staples you use. Just as you strive to provide the best food possible for your family, the Food Bank provides quality food to the people we serve. Nutritious foods make the biggest impact.

Please remember, if that canned item has been sitting in the back of the pantry for an unknown amount of time and/or it is more than one year past the expiration date, it’s probably best to leave that donation at home. Also, we are unable to accept alcohol of any kind, home-canned goods or opened packages/jars. Finally, no glass please.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what food you give and how much to donate. However, please remember that your donations are a fundamental part of our goal to provide the healthiest, most useful food to our community.

Our website has further information on how to donate and how to start your own food drive. Please visit www.foodbankccs.org.

 

Inspired to Make a Difference

Guest post by coin club Board Member, Bill Green – Six years ago at Christmas time I was watching a local 10 pm newscast. One of the stories featured a clothing drive called ‘One Warm Coat’. I was impressed with the success of the effort and even more so by the good this clothing drive was providing to our neediest of neighbors. Then it struck me. Our Contra Costa based coin club could and should do something. Perhaps because I spent my career in the food business I first thought of doing something ‘food related’.  The next day I happened to be in a supermarket and saw the Food Bank barrels. That’s all it took. At the club’s Board of Directors meeting in January I proposed that we donate a portion of the admission fees from our annual coin show. The Board unanimously agreed.

A couple of years later we invited the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano to provide a speaker at one of our monthly coin club meetings. The statistics the Food Bank representative shared with us were stunning. The number of hungry people especially kids is almost beyond belief. The number of meals provided locally by the Food Bank is inspiring. Every year since that presentation we include Food Bank Facts in our coin show program. Maybe our show attendees will be moved to help. The need is great and growing.

I hope everyone reading this will consider attending our coin show. It’s full of family fun but it has a serious side, too….helping the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

Join Bill and the Food Bank at the Contra Costa Coin and Collectible show October 13 – 10 am – 5:30 pm Oct. 14 – 10 am – 4 pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel 45 John Glenn Dr.Concord. A portion of $3 admission benefits the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano at this fun and educational family outing! Visit www.diablocoinclub.org for more info.

 

Rethinking Summer Food Drives

Summer is traditionally a slow time for food drives. You might ask why? Many food drives are driven by students of all ages and without school, there goes our captive audience (and a huge CAN DO audience). Many of us think of hunger when the weather is cold and during the traditional giving time of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when we hear of many organizations and people that need help. During the summer months we think of sun and vacation and the things we personally need to do. For us at the Food Bank and the food pantries we work with, hunger is a year round concern. The faces of hunger may change throughout the year but the faces are there no matter what day of the year, no matter what type of weather or what type of news that day. Hunger is hunger no matter what month it is.

Last summer between June through October, we brought in 82,000 pounds in food drive versus over six hundred thousand pounds of food drive from October through December. Food drive is an important part of the food we need. We are fortunate to have barrels in over 100 businesses/churches throughout the year but we need more of that and a steady stream of food.

We are embarking on a solution that will help us receive more food drive throughout the year. It is called the Contra Costa & Solano Food Project and relies on people like you to be a part of this exciting community undertaking. Stay tuned for more on the CCS Food Project, coming soon!

Interact Club of MVHS Takes on a Food Drive

Guest post by Ambassador Aaron Yuen: The Interact Club of Monte Vista High School in Danville once again is sponsoring a food drive. Last year, the club collected 2,550 pounds of food, quite a huge accomplishment for a student organization which utilized only the lunch break to plan and launch the food drive.

To kick off the food drive this year, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano was invited to give a talk to student members on Thursday, March 22. Having two graduates of MVHS in my family, I was delighted to take on the assignment wearing the MVHS colors of red and black and a Food Bank Ambassador badge at the same time.

The student members are very much into community service.  In addition to doing the food drive, the club is planning a car wash to raise funds to help fight teenage slavery trafficking.

Monte Vista received 15 barrels on Monday, April 16 and called to report that they are collecting food. They also mentioned they are not giving the barrels back until they are completely full.

Our future generation at work taking on current issues!

Admirable and inspirational indeed.

Food From the Bar 21st Annual Fund Drive

Contra Costa County attorneys will once again hold their annual competition to benefit the Food Bank from May 7th thru May 18th. Since its’ inception, this competition has raised more than $891,000 and collected 54 tons of food for hungry area residents. This is a great way for law firms to have fun while collecting food and raising money for the Food Bank. Law firms compete for the highest per capita contribution in their respective categories. Some firms form teams to compete and law offices use a variety of creative fundraising ideas like Bake Sales, Carnival Days, White Elephant Sales, Treasure Hunts, and Eating Contests. The Walnut Creek law firm of Archer Norris will once again organize a Walk-a-Thon around downtown Walnut Creek.

Even better – this year there is a Cyber Competition! You can fight hunger with just a click from your computer! Support your favorite attorney or law firm from the convenience of your home or office by donating online through Contra Costa County Food from the Bar’s Virtual Food Drive! Just go to www.bit.ly/foodfromthebarcc and choose from 10 different food staples, select a quantity and “checkout,” to donate! Select your lawyer or law firm from the Company drop-down menu to see who can donate the most. ! The Food Bank can make your dollar go further. Because of special agreements with manufacturers and buying in large quantities they can purchase at less expensive prices than you find in grocery stores. But make sure your donation is submitted by 4:30pm on May 18th!