#MemberMonday: SLO Food Bank
August 10, 2021
This week’s featured food bank is SLO Food Bank, serving the County of San Luis Obispo since 1988.
For one client, SLO Food Bank literally changed their life. A mother of a 2-year-old shared,
“Being able to get those foods that we needed here to get us back on our feet, from being homeless to being where we are now, where we are actually buying a home, is amazing. We never thought a year ago that we were going to be able to live and take care of ourselves and have a job – none of those things would happen because we would’ve been scrambling and struggling just to feed ourselves… We were able to do the other things that we needed to better ourselves in a permanent situation. We will soon be in a position to be able to give back to the community to help others in similar situations.”
For Volunteers, helping out at the food bank gives them a sense of purpose. Mark Z expressed,
“I volunteered last year at the beginning of the pandemic. I began by a few hours on and off every few days. It turned into coming every day. Why? Because there was such a need to get food to the people in our community. I became obsessed with helping others. It fulfilled me and made me feel wonderful to give back.”
There was, and still is, such a need to get food to the community — and SLO Food Bank has stepped up to the plate with such dedication, they were honored as one of California’s 2020 Nonprofits of the Year.
For SLO Food Bank’s partner organization, the Arroyo Grande Lions Club,
“Our volunteer crew had a fun time assembling Breakfast Bags as part of our We Serve credo. It was very impressive when we learned how the Food Bank is quick to respond to a new need as soon as it is learned. A good example is how they went and got a commercial grade refrigerator to help meet walk-up requests on the part of the hungry,” shared Bill Cockshott.
Some exciting news: the SLO Food Bank underwent a re-brand in the end of 2019 and they are now excited to wrap their truck fleet! They engaged their entire team in the creative process and decided to feature five different produce types for their five large box trucks: citrus, greens, stone fruit, berries, and root veggies. And they invited volunteers and farmers to be their hand models! Their two 22’ trucks will be ready to go at the end of August.
For the staff at SLO Food Bank, their work at the food bank is more than just a job. As one employee states,
“It is a privilege to work alongside such a dedicated, caring, and fun-loving staff with inspiring leadership that is unsurpassed in all my many years of work. We are also fortunate to have an amazingly supportive community whose gifts have enabled us to respond to emergency food needs in our county. Many who have never imagined they would seek the services of a food bank found the support they needed during these uncertain times.”
We at CAFB are proud to have SLO Food Bank as one of our member food banks who participates in our Farm to Family program. As Branna Still, SLO Food Bank’s Development Director shares,
“CAFB’s Farm to Family program provides the backbone for much of the fresh produce we distribute to our clients. They have been a vital source of food for the SLO Food Bank since long before the pandemic. Since our response to COVID-19 began, they have leaned in even more, providing us with additional supplies and guiding us through different channels of food advocacy; ensuring that we are supporting our clients at every level possible. We are also grateful for the sense of community that being part of CAFB provides—being part of CAFB means we are connected with like-minded hunger relief organizations throughout the state.“
“We also appreciate that the CAFB has a very strong Advocacy Team. They have worked hard, especially during COVID, to check in with us about our needs. It is so important to have this support and to know that there is a very knowledgeable and experienced staff advocating for food access issues at the state level.”
We are grateful at CAFB that this work is done with the help of and collaboration with all our member food banks—including, of course, SLO Food Bank. Thank you for amplifying our voice throughout the state, and working side-by-side with us towards our goal to ensure that each and every Californian has the food they need to live a healthy and hunger-free life!
All photos, stories, and quotes courtesy SLO Food Bank.