The Food Bank was established in 1968 by a group of community leaders seeing that there was a need to help hardworking individuals who were having a difficult time making ends meet. The mission of the Emergency Food Bank is to build a stronger community by providing a safety net of healthy food, nutrition education, and hope to residents of San Joaquin County who find themselves in need. The food bank began as a grassroots nonprofit and continues to be supported by the community.
Emergency Food Bank’s hardworking staff has remained true to their mission statement — the Food Bank’s doors have never closed during the 2+ years of the COVID-19 pandemic. When shutdowns began in March 2020, staff adjusted quickly as food needed to be distributed safely to families in need. Within hours, their walk-up service was converted to a drive-up service, which continues to this day. Volunteers continue to assist staff in sorting, packaging, and distributing products.
The need for healthy food has continued to be great. Their main food pantry, located at 7 West Scotts Avenue in Stockton, is serving 30% more families than the same five-month period of 2021. The Food Bank currently serves 496,000 more individuals per year than it did prior to the pandemic.
In 2020, the Food Bank launched their DoorDash program with San Joaquin 211. The program is designed to bring food to homebound residents. It started with modest numbers and has grown to reach 707 homes per week. The Food Bank is proud to have been the pilot for this program — it was because of their nimble staff that they were able to provide this service to their county.
Community outreach slowed down during the pandemic — however, as of July, 2022, their Mobile Farmers Market program has bounced back and now serves 65 sites throughout San Joaquin County. The Food Bank’s Nutrition Educators are reaching out to the public school system, armed with healthy food presentations and produce giveaways for elementary school classrooms. You can watch a one-minute video of a Mobile Farmers Market distribution in Stockton:
The Nutrition Education Department expanded their services and developed key programs to assist the community with nutrition education. Working in conjunction with the Abbott Fund, their nutrition educators have established the Future Well Communities FoodRX program. Approximately 400 people are delivered a medically-tailored food box full of fresh produce and meal ingredients, a recipe on how to prepare the items and a Zoom link for a free cooking demonstration presented by their Nutrition Educators.
Emergency Food Bank’s Nutrition Educators team, along with the Stockton Shelter, Stockton Fire Department “HOT Team,” the Salvation Army, and Community Medical Centers, provide weekly Street Outreach in unhoused communities within Stockton. They provide nutrition-dense items along with medical and social service connectivity to individuals in encampments. You can watch a one-minute video of a Street Outreach Pop-Up Pantry here:
Emergency Food Bank is looking forward to their largest single-day fundraiser of the year: in their 18th Annual Run and Walk Against Hunger held the morning of Thanksgiving Day. Their goal is to reach 3,000 participants this year. This family community event is sandwiched between their two major food distribution days: the annual Thanksgiving and Holiday Turkey box giveaway, where in the span of five hours on both days, they distribute more than 2,000 complete holiday meal fixings to those in the community who find themselves in need.
We are grateful to the California Association of Food Banks for their ability to provide grassroots food banks with the ability to purchase food at a discounted rate. We know that without the CAFB working hard on our behalf, we would not be able to provide healthy foods to the those in need in San Joaquin County.
Alesha Pichler, Community Relations Manager
We at CAFB are grateful for all the hard work that Emergency Food Bank does for their community. You can learn more about them on their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
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