Originally posted on the Vacaville Reporter: It is common to dread turning forty, but we at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano are proud of what we have accomplished as we turn the big 4-0. Today marks the 40th anniversary that our incorporation documents were filed.
To honor our 40th birthday, generous donors came together to make up the Friends of the Fortieth Fund. They contributed $40,000 to be used as a matching fund for other donors. In short, if community members rally together to contribute $40,000, we will actually receive $80,000 because of the dollar-for-dollar match.
What does this mean to the food-insecure people we serve? Since we are able to provide two meals for every dollar we receive, your donations (along with the matching funds) will allow us to provide 160,000 meals to children and seniors in our community.
The concept of a local food bank started with a borrowed Safeway trailer, parked in a church parking lot, and two employees who had access to trucks. When people applying for government assistance programs ran into delays, eligibility workers would refer them to these pantries to obtain emergency food.
At the beginning, we were providing food to 19 emergency food pantries. We now serve almost 200 pantries and 1 in 8 residents.
We are no longer an agency exclusively providing short-term assistance. We still support pantries that assist people on an emergency basis, but we also are an essential part of the ongoing community response to hunger.
We have developed specific programs that give food to low-income seniors and low-income children. We also make available donated food from the US Department of Agriculture to low-income people in Solano and Contra Costa counties. Our Community Produce Program provides fresh fruit and vegetables at clinics, churches and schools in low-income neighborhoods. We are part of a network that food-insecure people use to help provide for their families.
Our ongoing job is to continue providing food to people in need, while working to end hunger. What are some of the things we do to end hunger? We partner with governmental, philanthropic and other community-based programs to try to increase participation in the CalFresh program. We are working to help more children benefit from the School Lunch Program and Summer Meal Program. We engage the community and advocate at the Capitol so we can help everyone obtain the good nutrition they need to thrive.
Our founders knew that saving food from waste was a good idea. The same principle guides us today, as we see what food donations are available and determine how best to use them to meet the needs of the people we serve. However, food donations alone don’t cover the need within our community. We need to also purchase food in order to meet the demand. And you guessed it, purchasing food takes money.
If you are interested in making a donation to the Food Bank in honor of our 40th anniversary of serving the community, you can do so at www.foodbankccs.org/40for40.
We humbly thank our community members for your continued support during the past forty years.