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Help Make Holidays a Little Brighter for Those in Need

Every year during the holiday season, we are especially thankful for all of our caring supporters who have joined the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano in our fight against hunger.  The holiday spirit means people are willing to donate money, food or time to make a difference.  County employees in both Solano and Contra Costa collect money to help the Food Bank’s work by doing bake sales or “a cream pie in the department head’s face” fundraisers.  Golf tournaments and food collections at holiday parties benefit the Food Bank.  Donations are given during “Sing Along Messiah” events.  Food and money are raised in Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith communities.  Businesses collect food and money, schools join the effort, the whole community comes together to make a difference.

 

The story of need in the community is more prominent during the holidays.  News stories during this time help us see that most of the people who need food are not that different than us.  People who come to the Food Bank have had unfortunate circumstances take place that mean they need help.  Because of the generosity of the community, the Food Bank can make a difference.

 

The community trusts us to provide food to our neighbors in need during the holidays and all year long.  Thanks to our generous community, we are gathering food from those who want to give and are distributing it to partner agencies and directly to people who need help.  Together we are making the holidays a little brighter for people in need right here in our community.

 

To learn more about how you can make a difference this holiday season, visit our holiday ways to help page.

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!

ABC7 Share Your Holiday

There is no other way to put it, hunger just hurts more during the holidays.  For many in the Bay Area, this time of year shines a spotlight on just how much food insecurity affects their lives.  That’s why ABC7 and Bay Area food banks are working together to collect much needed food and cash donations this holiday season.  Everyone can take part on Wednesday, December 12 with ABC7 ‘s ‘7 Ways to Give’ for  a holiday gift that really makes a difference!

Throughout the day ABC7 (KGO) will be broadcasting live from Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek.  Familiar faces from ABC7 News will feature stories from Food Bank donors and clients, and Food Bank staff will be on hand to let you know how your donation supports the programs and services that help us put food on the table for over  149,000 people every month.

7 Ways for you to share include;  dropping off food and monetary donations to Broadway Plaza from 5:30 am to 6:00 pm, Texting  FEED to 80077 and donating  $10.00 to benefit all Bay Area food banks, Calling 877-525-3775 to make your donation over the phone, Click it to donate online from our website, write a check made out to “Food Bank” and mail to  ABC7 FOOD DRIVE, 900 Front Street, San Francisco, CA   94111, volunteer at a food bank or local soup kitchen or pantry, and Like us on Facebook to stay updated and get involved.

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.

Big Wins in the Holiday Food Fight

Once again, Solano and Contra Costa Country employees stepped forward to help their neighbors in need during the holidays. Not easily discouraged by the poor economy, layoffs and furlough days, county employees raised a grand total of $116,133.90 to benefit the Food Bank!

In the employee to employee competition, Contra Costa County retains the big apple trophy by raising $9.91 per employee compared to Solano County’s $8.11 per employee.

The Food Fight competition began in 2004, when Contra Costa County employees raised $57,012.70 and Solano County employees raised $15,091.  In the eight years of the competition, Contra Costa County has won the Big Apple trophy five times and Solano County has won three times.  In the eight year Food Fight history, county employees have raised a very grand total of $927,643.73 for the Food Bank!

Although each county fights to win possession of the trophy each year, all employees understand that the real winners in this competition are the thousands of residents their hard earned donations dollars will feed.

“Foodie Frog” (aka Kate Sibley) joined Food Bank Executive Director Larry Sly and Dan Hoffman from the Contra Costa County Sherriff’s Office to kick off Holiday Food Fight 2011. Foodie’s mission was to motivate CC County Food Fight team leaders with a “ribbetting” presentation!

 

Sharing a Bountiful Year

I was sitting at my desk on the last business day of the year – December 30. Our hard working staff was happy to go home early. I had plenty to keep myself busy for a while longer, some neglected thank you letters, a few holiday cards to complete, and I, too, would be headed home.

Suddenly there was a knock on the Food Bank door. “Are we too late? Will you take our donation?” they asked. “Of course”, I said. “Please drive around back and I will meet you at the door.” figuring a few more bags of donated food is always a good thing.  What I saw when I unlocked the back door was staggering – two vehicles stuffed with food! I quickly got two carts to help unload the bounty. Confused, I asked, “Was this a group collection?” “Oh, no,” said Mike Bailey, “this is just from our family. We had a good year and wanted to give back.”

It took all five family members and myself to unload cases of canned vegetables and fruits, whole grain cereal boxes, and practically everything we at the Food Bank wish for. “We went to your website and printed off your most wanted food items so we were sure to get what is needed,” said Laura Bailey. All I could say is, “You sure did!” Their donation weighed in at 1,214 pounds of food, the equivalent of 971 meals!

Thank you to the Bailey family of Vacaville. Thank you to everyone who has donated a can of food, a dollar, or an hour of your time to the Food Bank in 2011. We are serving 132,000 neighbors in need every month and distributing almost 14 million pounds of food a year and WE COULD NOT DO ANY OF IT WITHOUT YOU. Best wishes for a wonderful 2012 and our sincere gratitude for your partnership in the battle against hunger.

Food Banks Seek Community Support to Help Raise $100,000 during ABC7’s Share Your Holiday Food Drive

With unemployment remaining at 9 percent in the San Francisco Bay Area, the demand for food assistance continues to increase.  Bay Area Food Banks, a collaboration of eight local food banks serving 11 northern California counties, are serving the needs of more than 600,000 Bay Area residents each month.  To continue to meet the needs at this scale, they look to the community for support.   You can help!  ABC7 ‘s Share Your Holiday Food Drive, benefitting Bay Area Food Banks, launches bright and early on Thursday, December 15 with the goal of raising $100,000 during the daylong event.

“We know that many Bay Area families have been affected by the downturn of the economy, and we want to do our part to help support the local Food Banks.  We are hopeful our generous ABC7 viewers will come together and support their local food bank and help feed hungry families this holiday season,” said William Burton, ABC7 President and General Manager.

On December 15 , starting at 5:30 a.m., ABC7 will be asking viewers to make a donation to their local food bank using one of these 7 Ways To Give:

  1. Donate to your local food bank online at www.abc7news.com
  2. Text FEED to 80077 to donate $10
  3. Mail your check made payable to “Food Bank to ABC7 Food Drive, 900 Front Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
  4. Call in your donation in to  800-515-1719  – Volunteers will be on hand to take your donation
  5. Find your local food bank on Facebook and “like” their page to stay updated on how you can get involved
  6. Drop off a donation of non-perishable food items to the live food drive location at Alameda County Community Food Bank or at your local food bank
  7. Schedule time to volunteer at your local food bank. Volunteers are needed throughout the year!

“We are truly grateful to ABC7 for the time, hard work and energy they have given to support the Bay Area Food Banks,” said Larry Sly, executive director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. “The financial support food banks receive from the community is a critical part of our work. You can make a difference by giving to the ABC7 Share Your Holiday Food Drive and working together to help our neighbors in need. ”

Tune into ABC7 on December 15 for inspiring stories from people who have supported Bay Area Food Banks and from people who are in need of assistance now.  By using the ABC7 – 7 Ways To Give, you can help provide food assistance that will go to families facing hunger this holiday season and throughout the year.

*Mobile Donation Fine Print: $10.00 donation to Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano also benefiting other Bay Area food banks. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 80077 to STOP. Text HELP to 80077 for HELP.  Full Terms: mGive.org/T. Privacy Policy.

 

A Thoughtful Gift

Kudos to Emily Bach and staff at The Bach Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Orinda for choosing to say thank you to their clients via the Food Bank.  Instead of sending clients the usual holiday gift of candy or other personal item, Emily decided to make a $5,000 donation to the Food Bank in honor of her clients.  She paid for custom printed Thanksgiving cards, included a letter from herself explaining the donation, and a letter from Food Bank Executive Director Larry Sly explaining Food Bank needs and how many people this generous donation will feed.

If you would like to do a similar good deed through your business for the holiday season, Christmas or the New Year, please contact Kathy Gleason at 925 771 1313 or kgleason@foodbankccs.org