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Tenth Annual County Cares Food Fight

Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: The Solano County Board of Supervisors recently challenged the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to “bring it on” for the tenth annual County Cares Food Fight. This friendly competition between employees of both counties is a way of sharing the holiday spirit with the people in need the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano serves. County employees volunteer their time in creative ways raising funds for the Food Bank so help can be there during the holiday season and beyond.

Bake sales, gently-used jewelry sales, and donations for a dress-down day all help the Food Bank’s work. County staff members have fun with the “competition” that exists between departments in each county so they can get bragging rights with their fellow employees. The energy and creativity people put into this drive shows that people truly care about those in need in their community. It also shows they know how to have a fun time as they make a difference.

The County Cup Food Fight benefits the Food Bank several ways. Obviously, the money makes a real difference. This drive has raised over one million dollars in the past nine years, and provides the Food Bank more than $120,000 each year to help our work. But this drive is as important in the sense of community it brings. It is a significant act when people work together to make a difference in the lives of those in need. Through their actions, county employees are saying that it is not acceptable for hungry people to exist in our communities. The money and energy they give are a statement that hunger is not acceptable in our community.

Contra Costa and Solano County Employees Feel Like a Million Bucks!

Contra Costa and Solano County employees are approaching the 2012 Counties Care Holiday Food Fight with a new mission – to hit the $1 million dollar mark in fundraising for the Food Bank. The annual County Food Fight began in 2004 as an innocent little competition to do good in our communities when Contra Costa County employees decided to challenge Solano County employees to raise funds for the Food Bank.  Solano County accepted the challenge immediately and the Food Fight was born.  Employees in both counties wanted to help their community and dove into the Food Fight with gusto, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Each year, the county bringing in the highest dollar amount per employee wins possession of the  “Big Apple” trophy. In the past eight years, possession of the Big Apple trophy has bounced back and forth from Contra Costa County to Solano County many times.

This year the Food Fight will hit a milestone.  At the end of Holiday Food Fight 2011, during its eight year history, the counties had raised a grand total of $927,804.82!  County employees will need to collectively raise just over $72,000 this year to hit the unbelievable $1 million dollar fundraising mark.  Can they do it in this poor economy?  The Food Bank thinks they can, and is asking you to donate online in honor of your county through December 31st.

County employees can visit the Donate page of the Food Bank website and select “CC County Employee” or “Solano County Employee” from the drop down list.

If you would like to donate in honor of your favorite county, visit the Donate page of the Food Bank website and select “Friend of CC County” or “Friend of Solano County“.

Thank you Solano County and Contra Costa County employees.  What an incredible milestone to reach!

Genentech Gives Back Week

Genentech has supported the Food Bank since 2004, providing funding for our programs, (including being a major funder of our Farm 2 Kids program in Solano County for the past 4 years) and sponsorship of Food Bank events. They even co-hosted a charity softball game between themselves and Alza Corporation, another big supporter of the Food Bank and also located in Vacaville, and the Food Bank was chosen as one of the recipients of the funds raised.

Genentech employees support the Food Bank on many levels – United Way donor-designated funds, Share Your Meal program, and of course volunteering with us. Last year the employees donated $239 during their Genentech Gives Back campaign. The Food Bank is proud to be participating again in their nonprofit expo on June 13 at their Vacaville plant. Genentech employees will be volunteering in our Fairfield warehouse on June 15. Both events are part of Genentech Gives Back Week.

As a major corporation in Solano County, Genentech is a role model for other businesses and exemplifies what it truly means to Give Back to the Community. They rock!

Sutter Hospital provides $6000 to Hungry Solano County Neighbors

Sutter Health has generously selected the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano to receive a $6,000 donation as part of a quarter-million-dollar donation to 29 food banks throughout Northern California.

“I’m very pleased to give what we can to our local food bank, especially when so many families are in need,” stated Terry Glubka, CEO of Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo.

Over the past three years, Sutter Health donated $762,500 to food banks in local communities which enables the purchase nutritious food for those in need.

Besides the medical center in Vallejo, Sutter Health operates care centers in Fairfield, Rio Vista, Vacaville.

Fluffernutter! A sundae for the Food Bank.

During the month of January there sure was a lot of positive ‘Fluffernutter’ talk at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. To raise money for local food banks and build awareness of hunger issues within our community, Fentons Creamery created Myrtle’s Special Sundae of the month, The Fluffernutter, which was inspired by one of the non-perishable food items desired most by food banks – Peanut Butter!

The Fluffernutter Sundae of chocolate peanut butter crunch ice cream and chocolate marshmallow swirl ice cream with hot fudge, peanuts, mini marshmallows and a cherry was sold throughout January to benefit the Food Bank. Fentons at the Nut Tree in Vacaville sold 151 Myrtle’s Creations (regular size) and 143 Junior size sundaes. With 25% of these sales being donated, we received a check for $653.06!

Fentons Vacaville didn’t stop there… they hosted a food drive and collected 90 pounds of food plus $106.32, their employees and family sorted and packed non-perishable food items for distribution at our Fairfield warehouse, and they gave us the opportunity to set-up a table in the lobby on Saturdays with literature and talk to Fentons’ guests about the Food Bank’s programs and services, as well as volunteer opportunities. As quoted by a Food Bank Ambassador who volunteered, “Fentons were very accommodating and helpful to us.” The promotion provided exposure to the Food Bank and brought a greater awareness to hunger issues.

Thank you Fentons Creamery in Vacaville for being an active participant in our local community!

Food Bank Ambassador Linda Elsdon tabling at Fentons in Vacaville

To learn more about our Food Bank Ambassador program, email pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org.

A Unique Distribution

As an Agency Relations Coordinator, I get to visit with the people who run the pantries and soup kitchens throughout our counties.  Though they all share the same mission, each one is completely unique.  I’m often impressed with the new ideas and inventive ways of solving problems that I see.

This particular morning, I went out to Vallejo Seventh Day Adventist.  The pantry is run by Lynda and Larry Leach.  Each aspect of the client’s situation is considered and each need is anticipated.  In the back room are shelves of various clothing, toiletries, infant products, and shoes.  Each item is separated into subcategories according to gender and then size.  One room is exclusively used for items a homeless individual might need:  sleeping bags, blankets, and toiletry kits.  Even disaster kits are stacked high in crates just in case.

As for the food giveaway, the expert flow could only have been achieved by years of experience.  A bench and awning shelter the clients while they wait, a television greets children with something to their liking, and the food is set out like a store for clients to choose what they want.  This type of agency is aptly called a “choice pantry”.  The great part about this type of system is that the clients only take what they will actually eat, minimizing waste.

Cooking Class

Last week I visited Sullivan Middle, a Farm 2 Kids school in Fairfield. They had cooking class where they made baked potatoes and snacked on apples and peanut butter.  They loved that the produce they get from the Food Bank enables them to do activities like this.  Their teacher, Ms. Denise told me that many kids come to the after school program hungry and she is really glad that she is able to offer them a healthy snack.

Through the Farm 2 Kids program, the Food Bank provides fresh fruits and vegetables to children whose families cannot afford to keep food on the table. As produce is perishable and expensive, many families have trouble feeding their kids the nutrients that are essential for developing children. Every week, Farm 2 Kids provides 3-5 pounds of fresh produce to more than 7,800 children in nearly 70 after school programs in Contra Costa and Solano counties. Over 50% of the students in these schools receive free or reduced cost school lunches, meaning at least half of the households in the school are considered low-income by the federal government.

First Northern Donates $4,787 to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

First Northern Bank, headquartered in Solano County, marked its 100th year in business with its employees selling a commemorative cookbook throughout 2010 titled, “100 Years and Still Cooking!” The project raised funds for local food banks and every dollar earned from selling the cookbook will go to help feed hungry children, adults and seniors in need. The $10 cookbook is a collection of favorite family recipes from First Northern Bank employees, directors and shareholders. Proceeds from the bank’s centennial cookbook netted over $10,000 for 5 area food banks, with $4,787 going to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano which represents the proceeds generated from cookbook sales in Solano County.    

Last year, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano distributed 3.5 million pounds of food in Solano County alone, reaching 43,000 people a month. “We’ve seen a 30% increase in need in the past few years. And, some of our donors are now clients,” says Marilu Boucher, Development Director for the Food Bank. “Due to the generosity of the community, we’re keeping up with the demand.”

To read more, visit www.foodbankccs.org/media-center/press-releases.html. The Bank can be found on the Web at www.thatsmybank.com.

Last week for Counties Care Food Fight!

In the final week of the Counties Care Holiday Food Fight Solano County employees have pulled ahead of Contra Costa County employees!

Solano County employees have raised $17,440.11 or $7.10 per employee compared to Contra Costa County employees $44,523.64 or $6.82 per employee.  The Food Fight officially ends December 31st.  Go to www.foodbankccs.org/donate to donate as a “friend” of the Food Fight in your county.  DONATE ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31 FOR A 2010 TAX DEDUCTION!

Counties Care Food Fight

In week three of the Counties Care Food Fight, Contra Costa County employees have pulled ahead of Solano County employees! The race is on. Contra Costa County employees have collected $36,229.64 or $5.55 per employee and Solano County employees have collected $12,257.85 or $4.99 per employee.

Contra Costa County vs Solano County

The Food Fight benefits neighbors in need in both counties and continues through December 31st. To learn how to support your county as a “friend” go to /events/index.html.