Originally posted in The Vacaville Reporter: As often sited, public speaking is the most common fear. People have anxiety attacks when they think of making a speech to an audience, large or small. When I became Executive Director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, I had to learn to speak before groups to help us build the community of support that is necessary to our work. The fact I have become as comfortable as I am when I speak to people about the Food Bank’s work is because I believe so strongly in what we do.
When I try to persuade people to join us in our work I am not selling them a vision, I am offering them an opportunity to make a difference. I believe that people understand there is no reason in a society as rich as ours that anyone should be hungry. With so much evidence of the need for hunger relief and stories we hear in the lines of our distributions, we see the problem often. We also know there is a solution.
It is my job to share the stories of our clients and explain to as many people as possible how they can help. I speak to faith communities, service clubs, schools, and businesses. I have talked to people in office suites and in factories. In my experience, if people understand that they can help by volunteering and giving food or money, they are happy to do so. Our task at the Food Bank is to reach out to those who can help so they understand how that can make a difference.
One of the ways we reached out to our supporters was organizing a wine and food event at GV Cellars in Fairfield on August 3. G V Cellars provided their space and provided a great deal on wine because they believe in our mission. MagPies Catering also went above and beyond with the delicious food they provided at a reduced cost. Westbound 80 performed classic rock music, and also donated to the cause. Not only did this event help us generate revenue to support our work, but, as importantly, it helped us connect with the people who make our work possible.
The Community Produce Program truck was set up at the event to show how much fresh produce their donation can provide. A display showing the huge amount of healthy food we are able to purchase with $100 surprised and delighted guest. When people understand how the Food Bank works, and understand how effective we are with their donations, I believe they will continue to help us feed those in need in our community. It is my job to help people understand, so please, invite me to your next club meeting, service group or class. Either through Facebook, Twitter, or face-to-face, we will continue to tell our story so people understand how they can help.