In 1979, the Mendocino Food & Nutrition Program (the Fort Bragg Food Bank) began their mission to distribute food to those who need it most. More than 40 years later, it is clear how much they have continuously evolved to better serve their Mendocino County community.
Their newest and most popular service is their Farmstand. It consists of market-style shopping that boasts produce, bread, and various grocery items. It is open daily during their regular distribution hours, and the items are donated and available to all community members.
The Farmstand slogan is “Take what you need and donate what you can.” It has received a lot of love: most mornings there is a line before the Farmstand even opens. Fresh produce is donated from local gardens and from farms from all over Mendocino County. There is even a row at the Fort Bragg Community Center community garden that is dedicated specifically to growing produce for the Farmstand!
The food bank also has a Snack Bag Program that runs twice a week. Their staff and volunteers pass out sandwiches and snack bags to about 35-40 unhoused community members, and sometimes provide seasonal necessities if clients are in need. These can include warm knit beanies, gloves, reusable rain ponchos, headlamps with batteries, and more — these are partially sponsored by REI and/or funded by organizations in the community.
Another special service that the Fort Bragg Food Bank offers their clients is the monthly Pop Up Clothing Swap. Giving back can range from donating baked goods for the volunteer crew to snack on while they sort, to volunteering time during the event or the day before to help sort donations, to organizing and running the event.
The clothing swap is held on the weekend to give people (whether they are working, students, or individuals who aren’t able to make it to the warehouse during the week) a chance to come and search through the clothing. Each month spotlights on an item — warm coats and gloves kicked off the colder season, and denim and jackets will be featured in the months to come!
“CAFB has supported us in ways that we cannot even begin to explain,” says Office Manager Angela Dominguez. “Knowing we have support and have a platform to get the message out, and the data, and showing it to the masses in such a way that is breaking it down literally to the POUNDS of food and individuals and families helped… we are beyond grateful to be part of something so important.”
We at CAFB feel equally as lucky to have Fort Bragg Food Bank as one of our tireless and generous members!
There is no way to count or describe the ways in which we feel supported by CAFB.
Angela Dominguez, Office Manager
Fort Bragg Food Bank’s holiday distribution goals this year are to have all clients preregistered to make the curbside distribution have shorter wait times and smoother interactions, welcoming new clients, and providing help signing up for CalFresh Benefits.
Their holiday hours for the week of Christmas will be December 20-23 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., as well as their late distribution until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
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