Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: Solano and Contra Costa counties both have “closed communities” — areas where homes are behind gated access points. Because there are a limited number of entry points, these housing areas provide additional security to the residents.
Several years ago, supporters of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano who live in these closed communities realized that the gates also presented them with an opportunity to persuade their neighbors to become donors.
In the Rancho Solano community in Fairfield, we found people who were willing to organize a food drive on our behalf. We provided them with printed food drive bags and they stapled flyers to the bags that made them stand out as part of the Rancho Solano food drive.
People went door-to-door distributing these bags to their neighbors, giving them a chance to talk about the Food Bank and the drive they had organized.
On the day of the drive, the Food Bank provided collection barrels and we brought a bobtail truck. As people went to work in the morning, or returned home at night, they went through the gates where their neighbors stood, encouraging them to donate food or money.
Now these food drives raise thousands of pounds of food and significant financial donations. The Rancho Solano drive is part of a larger effort in communities throughout Solano and Contra Costa Counties.
The Food Bank’s work is based on people sharing with others. I am convinced that people are willing to help others in need if they can see how to make it happen. In the closed-community drives the Food Bank organizes, people are reaching out to their neighbors so they can make a difference in the lives of people in need.
The author is executive director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, based in Concord.