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Tag ‘ food drive ’

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!

A Letter Carrier's Promise to Stamp Out Hunger

Guest post by Raul Carabajal, a letter carrier from Suisun City. The big question… Why do I volunteer for the Letter Carriers Food Drive? It’s all from a promise to my grandfather when I was a young boy. He would come in my bedroom before I would go to sleep and read to me from the Bible. He would put his make-shift wood podium at the foot of my bed, place his Bible on top and read to me until I went to sleep. Sometimes I would ask him questions and he would answer. He told me that if I ever saw someone in need of food, please promise me you would help to feed them, and don’t let them go hungry. I ask my grandfather how I can feed them, I am a little boy? His answer was, you are a little boy, but in large numbers you are a big boy. I then fell asleep as he continued reading.

My grandfather passed away when I was eight years old, while I helped him at the gas station and a mechanic shop he owned. To this day I remember his instruction to help those in need of food, so when I have the chance to be a part of the annual food drive, I happily participate in his honor.

We as a community are much bigger than we are alone. It’s easy to help your hungry neighbors in need by participating in the Letter Carriers Food Drive on Saturday May 12th. Simply leave a bag or box of food by your mailbox and your letter carrier will pick it up then deliver it to the Food Bank. See you on the 12th!

Delta View Elementary Gives from the Heart

Our student council at Delta View Elementary in Pittsburg hosted a “Give from the Heart” Canned Food Drive during the month of February. First, Mr. Sly from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano came to speak to us. He shared how many people need help with getting food these days.  Then we made posters and hung them around the school.  We also told our classes about the food drive. Mrs. Baum, our Principal, made an announcement during her Monday Morning Message. The barrels were delivered to the school and Ray, our custodian, helped us put the barrels around the school.  We were ready!

For first week of the drive we had a great idea – a “Drive-Through” Canned Food Drive. We passed out notes to moms, dads, grandmas, and uncles saying we would be happy to take their donations as they drove through to drop off their children the next morning. The following morning at 7:35 AM we waited with our teachers to collect the food. Some of us held up signs saying “Give from the Heart!” We were excited as bag after bag of food was handed through the car windows and we put them into the barrels. They gave us tuna, soup, tomatoes, and pasta. One mom opened her trunk and it was filled with canned baby food. She brought so much, we nearly filled one barrel just with baby food. In just twenty minutes, we filled three barrels. We had fun doing the drive-through and we were very happy with our filled barrels.

At the end of the month, the barrels were picked up. Then Ms. Tomasini wrote to let us know how much we had collected. We are proud to announce we collected 733 pounds of canned food! That is up from last year’s drive of 695 pounds. We know we have helped people. Delta View Stars showed their stuff. We all truly gave from the heart!

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Student Council Representatives
Advisors – Ms. Banks, Ms. Didion, Ms. Prado, Mrs. Van Tassell
Delta View Elementary, Pittsburg – Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Better Homes Fills the Cupboards

Last year, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Mason-McDuffie in Antioch conducted neighborhood food drives and stood in front of grocery stores to collect over 3,200 pounds of food. This year they were determined to go way above and beyond to collect over 6,000 items for their annual Company Giving Day on Saturday, March 10th.

Melisa Case spearheaded the drive which included some social media campaigning. On February 4th they started with 1 barrel and some paper bags, but with early success, they quickly added 2 barrels and 400 bags on February 21st, then 3 barrels and another 400 bags on February 23rd, and another 7 barrels and more bags on March 1st. Their final delivery meant 10 barrels were needed to collect all the food by only March 6th. Did they reach the 6,000 item mark? YES and every day they counted the incoming donations to keep the momentum going. This picture only shows part of the collection and all of the wonderful Realtors determined to fight hunger. Their slogan should be: Realtors not only show houses, they show they care about the community!

Stamp Out Hunger

Two years ago the Letter Carriers Food Drive was ready to pass the 1 billion pound mark of food collected across the nation – quite an amazing record. This year May 12th, 2012 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Letter Carriers Food Drive. Our hard-working letter carriers that deliver the mail to us care so much about our community that they work extra hard on the 2nd Saturday in May bringing back all of the food that you in our community left by your mailboxes. In honor of our letter carriers, let’s all leave a bag of nonperishable food by our mailboxes to help our local community and to celebrate 20 years of the Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

We have a population of over 1.4 million people between our two counties. If everyone put 1 can of food out for every person in their household, we would pickup roughly 1.4 million pounds of food in one day. We would need more trucks to help with the pickup, more volunteers at the post offices and then more volunteers through the next several months to help sort/box and distribute the food. What a wonderful problem to imagine and to solve. Please join your letter carrier, the Food Bank and the rest of the community in STAMPING OUT HUNGER on Saturday May 12th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Kente Ball & Banquet

Guest post by Ambassador Aaron Yuen: The Anuanom Club of Antioch hosted a Kente ball & banquet dance on Saturday, March 3, 2012. The event was to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Ghana’s independence and Ghanaian cultural heritage. Enjoying the evening festivities were 300 guests mostly of Ghanaian heritage. During the event, the Anuanom Club made a donation of $200 to the Food Bank and sponsored a food drive which yielded 318 pounds of food.

Our very own Larry Sly was invited as an honored guest. Due to a schedule conflict, Larry was unable to attend the event. I was asked to take Larry’s place to represent the Food Bank. My first impression was that the word anuanom sounded poetically beautiful. Later, I learned that anuanom meant sisters and brothers in the Ghanaian Akan language. The collective strength of sisterhood and brotherhood of the Anuanom Club has certainly made some positive impact in our community. The club has also contributed to worthy causes such as the American Red Cross. We are thankful that the club has chosen to be a partner of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. We look forward to our continued association.

The event showcased the rich Ghanaian cultural heritage. Traditional dances performed by youths of Ghanian heritage to the drum rhythms and percussion marked the highlight of an exhilarating evening of festivities.

Have I mentioned the scrumptious Ghanaian feast prepared by renowned chef Harold Sena-Akoto?

For appetizers: Succulent jumbo tiger prawns, snow crab claws, a variety of cheeses and other delicacies served under the elegance of an ice sculpture.

For entrees: Grilled chicken and beef, goat stew, seared salmon, two traditional Ghanaian rice dishes and salad.

For desserts: Fried plantain banana and an extensive collection of mousses of many delicate flavors and baked goods, too many to list individually.

It was a wonderful night to learn about the culture of Ghana and the community support to many organizations including the Food Bank by the Anuanom Club. Thanks for all you do.

Lafayette United Methodist Church Helps the Food Bank

Guest post by Ambassador Pat Hershey — I’ve always joked that Methodists have a passion for food (as in pot luck dinners), but at Lafayette United Methodist Church (LUMC) we put our real passion into helping the Food Bank.

Through our ongoing food drive, the “ONE Project,” we encourage members to bring one item of food to church each week.  They can just drop their donations into the Food Bank barrel as they come into the sanctuary.   Leslie Murray, our ONE Project coordinator, recently suggested that we set a goal to double our total yearly donation in 2012, and so far we are on track!  For March, we are suggesting that folks bring peanut butter to donate, as that is one of the Food Bank’s most needed items.

LUMC members also regularly volunteer with the Food Bank’s “Boxing Team,” packing boxes of food for the Food for Children and Extra Helpings direct distribution programs.  The Boxing Team works 2 – 3 Fridays a month, packing anywhere from 250 to over 700 boxes at a time.   Rod & Barbara Levander started volunteering at the Food Bank over 12 years ago, first in the sorting room and then within a short time joined the Boxing Team.  Vic & Fran Smith joined the Boxing Team a couple years later, and with the addition of Jill and myself in recent years, LUMC now regularly fields 6 members to help the team.

We also have groups of youth and adults who volunteer from time to time to help sort donated food at the Concord warehouse and pick pears for the Food Bank from the Moraga orchard.  Recently I led a group of LUMC kids from ages 12 to 82 out to the Concord warehouse and we spent the afternoon sorting 5,187 pounds of food.   That’s a lot of food, but at the end of the afternoon the group was simply saying “When is the next time we’re coming back to do this again?  This was wonderful!”

One special thing that the LUMC women’s group has done for several years now is to make 100 Easter Baskets each year for kids in some of the Food Bank’s partner agency programs.  Sue Renno and Fran Smith organize this project and direct the assembly process, and then the Food Bank sends a truck to pick up the finished baskets and distribute them to the partner agencies.  Each basket includes a chocolate bunny, a stuffed animal, a toy and some practical items like tooth brushes etc.  One of the agencies receiving baskets last year wrote to us saying, “The baskets went to mothers participating in the workforce services program who are in training (in Antioch), and they were very appreciative. The consensus was that they wouldn’t have been able to provide any Easter gifts for their children without your help.”  Wow, what a great result from LUMC partnering up with the Food Bank!

Finally, I also volunteer in the Food Bank Ambassador program, which gives me a chance to go out to events and tell people about the Food Bank and the growing need for food assistance right here in Contra Costa and Solano counties.  As an Ambassador, I’ve represented the Food Bank at a wide variety of events, including Oktoberfest in Todos Santos Plaza in Concord, an Employee Wellness event at Kaiser in Richmond, and the annual food drive at Fenton’s Ice Cream Parlor in Vacaville.  It’s so rewarding to be able to tell others about the incredibly important work the Food Bank is doing, and raise awareness around issues of hunger.  It fills my heart and feeds my soul.

LUMC Methodists are passionate about food – and we put that passion to work by helping the Food Bank achieve its vision of ending hunger here in Contra Costa and Solano counties.

Girl Scouts in Action

We are very fortunate to have so many active Girl Scouts in our two counties who so often think of the Food Bank when having dances or creating a community service project. For example:

Glorietta Elementary School in Orinda just had a father-daughter dance and asked everyone to bring in nonperishable food. Troop #30667 in Danville just held a dance and soon Del Rey Elementary in Orinda and Valle Verde Elementary in Walnut Creek will be collecting nonperishable food at their father-daughter dances. We make it easy by bringing the barrel to you and picking up the food.

Girl Scout troops also brought food to the Food Bank at Family Volunteer Day. Troop # 20305 in Benicia collected food and delivered it in a decorated  box.. When people ask me what food we like, I ask if children will be helping to buy the food. Then I recommend that the children select some of the food so they feel a part of the giving. Peanut butter always tops the charts.

In January, we received a $25 check from with the attached note:

“Hi, my name is Lauren and I am a Girl Scout in Lafayette. One of the badges is the “Sign of the Sun” Live the Girl Scout Promise. I have been collecting plastic bottles and aluminum cans for a long time and after I saw your article in the Lafayette Today newspaper, I wanted to start donating the money I collect to the Food Bank. I plan to continue doing this but enclosed is a start”.

WOW! We were so impressed when we opened up the envelope and read the letter that we just had to share this story with our readers. We love your creative ways to collect money and food to help our mission of “Working to end hunger”.