This week, we are featuring the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano. They have served their community for more than 40 years with the mission of leading the fight to end hunger, in partnership with their community and in service of neighbors in need. They distribute food through an average of 75 direct distribution sites per week, as well as through 240 partner agencies.
During the pandemic, the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano pivoted their service to include drive-thru distributions, increase the use of packaged food boxes, and partner with Meals on Wheels to deliver food to older adults. Meanwhile, their partner agencies provided new to-go meals and delivery programs to meet the hunger crisis caused by COVID-19.
Here are some staggering statistics on how Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano has responded to this crisis over the past year:
They are serving 100,000 additional people per month than they were prior to the pandemic; that’s equivalent to filling up the Oakland Arena five times (it seats about 20K)! This means that they have been helping to feed 270,000 people per month on average. That’s more than the populations of Concord (130K) and Fairfield (117K) combined!
In the past 12 months, they’ve distributed more than 40,000,000 pounds of food: roughly the weight of 500 gray whales!
Volunteers logged over 109,300 hours in 2020, which increased their workforce by almost 50% — the equivalent of 52 full-time workers.
Their Grocery Recovery Program helps to redirect approximately 4.5M pounds of food each year by working with 133 retail partners, including Big Lots, Costco, Save Mart (Lucky and FoodMaxx), Walmart, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, Safeway, Winco, Target, Smart & Final, Foods Co., and Raley’s (Nob Hill).
“The California Association of Food Banks is a critical partnership for our Food Bank,” states Joel Sjostrom, President and CEO of Food Bank of Contra Cost and Solano, “providing access to farmers and agricultural partners throughout the state that we otherwise wouldn’t have. The collective volumes of our food banks create a buying power that supports farmers while providing Food Bank members with quality fruits and vegetables at significantly reduced prices.”
Sjostrom continues, “[CAFB’s Farm to Family Program] provides us with consistent access, effective pricing, and a sustainable source of fresh produce that enables us to serve an average of 270,000 clients every month.
“Additionally, CAFB strengthens our voice as we collectively advocate at the local, state, and federal level for the needs of those facing food insecurity and the underprivileged.”
We are proud to be long and active members of CAFB as partners in our fight to end hunger.
Joel Sjostrom, President/CEO, FBCCS
The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano is focused on ensuring they can meet the needs of their community for the long haul. This includes the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on the region’s most vulnerable populations, as well as preparation for future disasters. Northern California has been hit with record-setting wildfire seasons the last few years, and the Food Bank is a crucial part of the response effort during a crisis. They have moved into a larger warehouse location in Fairfield, Calif. that will allow them to have ready-to-eat food and water on hand to respond quickly to any disasters in the region.
More than ever, the support of donors and volunteers is needed to make sure we can continue to answer the call when our neighbors need us most.
Diana Brennan, Communications Director, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano
The Food Bank also has some exciting news! They are gearing up for their first in-person fundraiser since 2019. The Nourish Gala Drive-in to Fight Hunger will bring together a full gala-style event projected on the big drive-in movie screen, which guests can enjoy from their car. Full details are below.
It is a joy working with the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano and witnessing their dedication to their community!
The Nourish Gala Drive-in to Fight Hunger will take place at the West Wind Solano Drive-in outdoor movie theatre in Concord on Thursday, May 13. This special evening will feature a hot, three-course dinner, music, and trivia, a live auction, and, most importantly, coming together to raise funds for community members who need extra help with food. You can get tickets at the link above — and following the evening’s presentations and featured elements, you are invited to stay for a showing of Back to the Future!
All images and quotes courtesy Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
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