Originally posted on Sustainable Contra Costa: For dedicating over forty years to feeding the hungry and being a model of sustainability in our local community, Food Bank Executive Director Larry Sly received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award from Sustainable Contra Costa. Larry was presented with the award at the 2016 Leadership In Sustainability & Green Building Awards on September 21st, 2016.
Larry began his work at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano soon after graduating from UC Berkeley in 1976, during the second year of its establishment. He was initially hired as a truck driver when the Food Bank’s warehouse was nothing more than a Safeway trailer in a church parking lot. Before long, the Food Bank’s leadership was transferred to his capable and generous hands. In his first year with the Food Bank, 36,000 pounds of food was distributed. Today, with Larry as the Executive Director, the Food Bank serves one in eight residents of Contra Costa and Solano counties. Twenty million pounds of food is now distributed each year, over half of which is fresh fruits and vegetables.
Seeking to both reduce food waste and feed hungry people, Larry ensures that produce that would otherwise go to waste is instead given to local families in need. He has developed an innovative Grocery Recovery Program where the Food Bank’s trucks and agencies pick up leftover food at local grocery stores that would otherwise be thrown away and then distribute it to people who need it.
In addition to diverting healthy food from agriculture and industry that would otherwise be discarded to those in need, Larry is also dedicated to sustainable business practices within the Food Bank. The Food Bank recycles all paper, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and plastic bags from food drives. We have installed solar panels on top of our large warehouse in Concord, reducing our electric bill by thousands of dollars each month. Energy is saved and excess funds are diverted to feeding more people.
Congratulations Larry for receiving this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award! It is well deserved.