Experience

Contra Costa food bank helps families in need

Nick Campbell, @nicky_charles

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The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has been on the move this week helping families. Headquartered in Concord, the organization was founded in 1975 by volunteers looking to help local families with emergency food needs. What started as a small band of volunteers morphed into what is now known as the Food Bank. The mission of the Food Bank eventually transitioned from providing emergency one-time resources, to being a consistent and ongoing safety net for families in need.

That transition also saw a shift in focus from merely providing food calorically to a priority on nutrition. In addition to providing food for families in need, the organization also provides education and resources. Things like budget friendly recipes, cooking tips, and information on healthy ingredients.

The Food Bank also partners up with other reputable charity organizations like Feeding America and The California Association of Food Banks. Over 200 agencies have partnered with the Contra Costa and Solano branches of the Food Bank. The reach of the Food Bank stretches from Concord to Brentwood and beyond for Contra Costa County. It also has territory that covers as far as Vallejo to Fairfield in Solano County. The Food Bank is a registered 501c (3) which designates they are not a religious or political organization.

A typical client of the Food Bank is really diverse. Food Distributor Will Gregory observes the difference.

“I serve over 1,500 people a week and no one family is the same” said Gregory.

Recently, The Food Bank had set up a distribution point in the parking lot of the Medi-Cal office on Delta Fair Blvd. Volunteers were out helping to distribute food packages for families. It required a simple check in and then a ticket was given to the family who then got in line to get a package.

Mike Moore, 43, was in line and received a bag of fruit, vegetables and other various items.

“Things are really tight right now in my budget, so this will really help” said Moore.

The Food Bank is always in need of volunteers and donors. Many people choose to volunteer and for a variety of motivations. Some like to volunteer to give back to the community, some are fulfilling court obligations, and some have a personal connection.

Food Bank volunteer Brandon Hursh got his start in helping out the community by joining a club in high school.

“Helping out the Food Bank has been one of the best experiences I’ve had volunteering,” said Hursh.

There are many opportunities for those looking to volunteer. Anyone interested in donating to the Food Bank can do so by visiting their website at www.foodbankccs.org or by calling 1-855-309-FOOD, mailing a check to Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano at 4010 Nelson Ave., Concord, CA 94520 and by email support@foodbankccs.org. In addition to one time donations you can also become a monthly donor by calling Kim Castenada at 925-676-7543 ext 265. For people looking to volunteer, you can go to https://volunteer.foodbankccs.org and look for your location.

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Contra Costa food bank helps families in need