Helping neighbors through disaster

Inflation is currently fueling a rise in food insecurity, but for some unknowing neighbors, their challenge to access and afford food will start—or be exacerbated by—a wildfire or earthquake. As Feeding America’s West Coast hub for disaster response, we are doing everything we can to be there for survivors when they need us. 

After disaster strikes, the immediate assistance of first responders can mean the difference between life and death. Once the initial threat is stabilized, ‘second responders,’ like the Food Bank, jump into action to help care for the community members displaced and affected by the crisis. We promptly provide food and water in the aftermath and offer longer-term food assistance to people rebuilding their lives.

STRONG PARTNERSHIPS ARE KEY TO EFFECTIVE AND EXPEDIENT DISASTER RESPONSE. 

The Food Bank has an established mutual aid agreement with four Bay Area food banks that allows the organizations to quickly coordinate efforts and concentrate support where it is needed. This plan was activated for the first time during the 2017 Sonoma complex fires, and again for the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County.

Partnership with organizations including Raley’s and Feeding America also play a significant role in providing ready-to-eat food and water in crisis situations. With a variety of locations throughout the West Coast, the Food Bank coordinates with Raley’s to help supply pallets of water, shelf-stable food and gift cards to areas impacted by natural disasters.

The Food Bank’s 260 partner agencies often do the ‘boots on the ground’ work during disasters in the outer reaches of the Food Bank’s service area. These grassroots local organizations are supported by the Food Bank to work hand-in-hand with the community and help fulfill the most urgent needs, as well as provide ongoing support.

THIS YEAR, WE ARE MORE READY THAN EVER.

The Food Bank is constantly evaluating its disaster response efforts and working to streamline that response. In 2021 the Food Bank moved into a new, 104,000-square-foot warehouse in Fairfield that has enough space to keep ready-to-eat food and water on hand to improve our disaster response readiness.

In addition, the Food Bank began preparing Ready-Set Meals boxes, which contain a day’s worth of ready-to-eat meals and snacks for one person. These are ideal for emergency response and contain a balance of healthy, nutritious foods, as well as water, sanitizing wipes, utensils and a face mask. To provide the fastest response possible, we have already strategically distributed 5,000 of these Ready-Set Meals boxes to partner agencies and we are building 15,000 more.

Just like families and individuals, the Food Bank’s ability to effectively respond to crisis is built upon its level of preparation. By preparing its response for the next emergency, the Food Bank stands firm in its commitment to “lead the fight to end hunger, in partnership with our community, and in service of our neighbors in need.” 

Help the Food Bank Prepare