Follow fun updates as well as interesting stories about clients, volunteers and supporters of SFBFS

August 20, 2014

My first Fun in the Sun Fair



Fun, food, and information on healthy living were in store for families attending the Fun In The Sun Fair on Saturday, July 19 at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS)’ Saca Community Learning Center. Since this year was my first time attending the fair, I was quite excited to see what it was all about and to help make it a huge success.

I was in charge of the SFBFS' information booth at the fair and was happy to hand out informational flyers and talk to families about the six wonderful programs we offer the community. But SFBFS was certainly not the only organization at the fair. Many community organizations from Wellspace Health and Radio Disney Sacramento to Terra Nova Counseling and SMUD were also in attendance. Fun in the Sun fair made sure that families received resources that encompassed different aspects of their lives including mental, nutritional, and financial.  



Not only was there information on healthy living for families but there was also a lot of delicious food and fun activities. Families enjoyed a delicious meal of hot dogs, chips and fruit. The kids were able to get their faces painted, slide on the water slide and play fun games with SFBFS volunteers. Families were also able to participate in a raffle to win cute stuffed animals.


My first Fun in the Sun fair was an amazing experience. It was wonderful seeing families relaxing and having fun while receiving the resources they need to become more self-sufficient. It’s another great example of the work SFBFS staff and volunteers do every day at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. 


Submitted by Ryan Mishler, AmeriCorps VISTA at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

July 29, 2014

Youth Education Summer Camp Update

Discovery Museum
The youth went to the Discovery Museum to see animals and science projects last week. The discovery museum has animals, space and many other ancient items from the past. The trip was very interesting because we got to see animals live and actual skeletons.

The animal hall has animals, some live and some leaving behind bones known as modern day fossils. The animal hall has bear pelts, live fish, rabbits and frogs. They also have the fossils of dinosaurs, leaves and butterflies. The favorite animal was the lion face rabbit.

Another exciting thing sectioned in the Animal Hall that was a intriguing game called Swim For Your Life. It is similar to the game system the Wii. The major difference is that you use your body as the controller. This by far was the major highlight of the whole field trip because the youth kept doing it over and over again.

The science and space center is based on scientific research and contains numerous science projects. Inside holds moon rocks, Cosmos the Robot and different inventions. Everyone's favorite was looking at the rocks and the special sand. They all wanted to show each other their favorite things making the trip unforgettable.

The trip was amazing because the youth got to see new things and play games. The trip was full of adventure. It was another great memory added to the youth's fun filled summer.


The Sacramento Police Department came to talk to the youth today. The youth and law enforcement officers discussed the importance of not trusting strangers and safety strategies. Stranger Danger is the danger to children present by strangers.

The youth learned to not talk to strangers and to not do anything they say because it could result in putting the youth at risk for danger. In the future they will use these strategies to protect them from harmful people, who are suspected to be dangerous. The highlight was being able to see a policeman and woman who gave great insight on what to do if a problem rises.


In conclusion, the youth were able to learn how to keep themselves safe and learn that they have resources to protect them if they feel harmed.

Submitted by Journey A., Youth Education Intern at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. 

July 22, 2014

Kate's Korner: August 2014

Bugs. There are good ones and there are bad ones – and then there are really bad ones. The Harlequin beetle falls into the latter category as it is a pest in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, we have become familiar enemies in the Demonstration Garden. I first noticed them a couple months ago milling about on the perennial tree collards. They are easily identified by their black shield-shaped bodies with orange and white markings. The young beetles are a rounded shape and the eggs are generally white with black stripes. 


  
Although they eat anything, they’re particularly fond of plants in the Brassica Family, including cabbage, collards, broccoli, mustard, kale and more. I had a handle on it at first...or so I thought. Every weekday a volunteer or I would spend some time picking them off the plants. At the week’s end I would be impressed by how few adults I could find but come Monday, the beetles would be back in force. I began looking for the eggs in an attempt to eradicate the next generation. I found so many eggs it was scary, there were one to two clumps of eggs (with about 10 eggs per clump) on each leaf. At a certain point I realized it was an inefficient use of time to hand pick for an hour each morning. I then graduated to spraying NEEM on the plants every day hoping to kill off all the beetles. By this time, the tree kale was looking awful since the harlequin beetles had been sucking the juices out of their leaves and stems for a few weeks. The leaves were also covered with uneven white spots where the bugs were munching them.  



After about a week and a half of spraying I could tell my efforts were futile. The last resort was to pull the plants out and hopefully remove the bugs with them. In the few days after this tree kale problem, I noticed some beetles on the hops and lovage nearby. My hopes were that they had fled to these plants but wouldn’t find them to their liking. They found a flower variety they favored, cleome, which I promptly removed.

Unfortunately, I have been starting winter crops the last few weeks and a few beetles found their way into the greenhouse and began enjoying a nice Brassica lunch. I've resorted back to hand picking those because the scale is much easier to manage. In a pleasant twist, the fish in the greenhouse aquaponics system love a harlequin beetle snack!

Fingers crossed I can eradicate them before our winter planting. Stay tuned for future installments of Kate the Gardener vs. The Harlequin Beetle Hordes!

Submitted by Kate Wilkins, AmeriCorps VISTA at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

July 21, 2014

Sacramento Youth Chosen to Attend Worldwide Teen Summit

Two youth leaders from Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS)’ Youth Education program are heading to Boston, Massachusetts on July 28 to join nearly 200 other young people for the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network’s 2014 Teen Summit. Youth from 18 countries including India, Jordan, Israel, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and the United States will be in Boston from July 29 - August 3 to explore using technology to make positive change and stand up for youth rights in issues such as education, environment, freedom & safety, health and speech & expression.

Youth ambassadors, Maria (age 16) and Beatrice (age 14), were chosen for their outstanding peer leadership and efforts to give back to their community. 

SFBFS’ Intel Computer Clubhouse, a member of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, based at the Museum of Science in Boston, provides a creative out-of-school learning environment where young people from Sacramento work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, build confidence, develop life skills and find pathways to success through the use of technology. Clubhouse members also learn to give back to their communities in ways that help build self-esteem, respect for others and commitment to community involvement.

About Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ Intel Computer Clubhouse
SFBFS' Intel Computer Clubhouse is a part of the Youth Education program. The Clubhouse is a year round, drop-in program Monday through Thursday. Staff and volunteer mentors engage youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (S.T.E.A.M). Youth, ages 12-18, with an interest in joining their local Clubhouse are encouraged to contact Kelly Ann at (916) 456-1980 or clubhouse@sacramentofoodbank.org.

About the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network

The Computer Clubhouse was founded in 1993 and has expanded to include 100 locations serving 25,000 youth annually from under-served communities in 20 countries. The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network is a project of the Museum of Science in Boston in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. For more information visit: www.computerclubhouse.org.

Submitted by Kelly Ann Adams, Clubhouse Coordinator at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

July 16, 2014

Growing Gardens, One Yard At a Time

Everyone loves a vegetable garden. A patio full of pots overflowing with sweet cherry tomatoes and bright herbs or a patch of cleared grass crowded with squash and watermelons. A garden can come in every shape and size and it’s wonderful to see the ingenuity and resourcefulness of people who love their vegetables. 


Unfortunately for some, starting a garden is cost, time, or physically prohibitive. This is a sentiment shared commonly at our free gardening classes in the Demonstration Garden at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (SFBFS). Many of our dedicated garden clients have a plan for ramping up their vegetable production but are often limited to their patio containers or smaller plans.


Sensing this need for resources in our community, the Food program applied for and received a grant to begin building gardens for some of our clients. This new facet of the program closely aligns with our mission to foster economic independence and self-sufficiency in those we serve. We want people to expand their gardening capabilities and share the abundance of food, excitement, and gardening know-how with their community. To be eligible, a client must attend and complete the Introduction to Gardening Series, which is four consecutive weekly classes about planning and maintaining your garden. Since beginning this program in April, we have had a slow trickle of qualified  applications turned in. We've completed two garden builds so far! The projects were very different but highlight the different resource needs in our communities.



Our first build was for dedicated gardener Minnie, who desired a raised container bed because of physical problems leaving her unable to bend down to the ground. She already had a dazzling assortment of vegetables on her patio but a small lawn with enormous potential was empty. Greg and I, along with two trusty client volunteers (one being the recipient of our next build) constructed a garden bed about 3 ½ feet tall and filled it with soil, compost and a variety of veggies and herbs. It turned out fantastic and Minnie was very happy. She could harvest and care for everything at a comfortable level. I came back later to set up a drip irrigation system and a basic compost bin to make her garden tending duties even easier. Build 1 – a success!



The second build was at the residence of Joseph and Jeannie, who were inspired by some of our gardening classes to embark on a very large project.  By the time they turned in their application, Joseph had already broke ground on an 800 sq ft. garden and planted about a third of it. Our goal was to put the other two-thirds into production: amend the soil with compost, plant with vegetables and flowers, set up irrigation, and build a large compost bin. Joseph, Greg, four volunteers and myself got busy with our tasks and finished before noon! It was a merry affair and the result of our build was at least 500 more square feet of vegetable production. Joseph and Jeannie were very thankful for all the help and resources, just as we are thankful that they've turned their lawn into a huge garden!

With two builds under our belt, we are ready to take on the next challenge. The next property has three parcels and is partially developed for gardening already but we hope to expand it and make it a veritable urban farm! Stay posted!



Submitted by Kate Wilkins, Garden, Health and Nutrition AmeriCorps VISTA at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

July 11, 2014

Summer Fun in Youth Education

I'm Journey, a 15-year-old Youth Education intern at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) and blogger. I wanted to intern and work with this program because I want to work in the writing field. I heard about this internship through the Youth Education Computer Clubhouse Coordinator and decided to apply for the internship. Writing is important to me because it is how I express myself and a positive outlet on life itself. As for the work, I am prepared to deliver the news of how the summer programs in Youth Education deliver a fun-filled summer to kids.


The Youth Education program's summer activities kicked off on June 30. The day consisted of fun activities, such as icebreakers and coloring animals and fans for the Senior program. All the kids were happy to partake in all the different festivities with big smiles and decorative art work. Lots of enthusiasm filled the room as kids got to know each other and start friendships down a long road of summer activities. The first day has definitely set  the tone for many days to come over this summer.

The Youth Education program features many fun activities for the kids to indulge in over the summer. The program offers a six to eight week summer camp from June 30 to August. The activities will range from art, skills and enrichment tools, as well as field trips for the youth to look forward to. In conclusion, the benefits of the Youth Education program would be newfound friendships, skills and a joyful summer.



I had the opportunity to sit down with Naomi, age 11, a youth who participates in the afternoon's youth program. She spoke on her great opportunity to be in the camp.

How is your first day at the program?
I like how the volunteers are nice and not strict.

After today, does it make you want to come every day?
Yes, because it looks like a nice place to come to.

Were you excited about joining this program?
Yes, because I like going to camps and it sounded like a nice place to go to.

What sets this program apart from the other camps you have been to?
There is a lot of people that participate.

What experiences do you expect to have here?
To make new friends and represent my family in a good way.

NEXT WEEK: The Youth Education program had a visit from an organization called Nature Critters. The visit had the kids fascinated by different animals, particularly a tortoise. The animals had the youth enticed to know more about the animals and their habitats. See my blog next week for more details. 

Submitted by Journey A., Youth Education Intern at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. 

June 24, 2014

Kate's Korner - Volunteers: Soldiers of the Soil

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) is well regarded in the Sacramento region (and beyond) for a kaleidoscope of reasons. One of those reasons is our huge volunteer base. In 2013, over 5,800 generous citizens of this city and the greater area spent 67,930 hours assisting staff in SFBFS' six programs. The Food program often has the greatest number of volunteers because of the scale of our food distributions and the huge amount of processing and organization needed on-site. The Demonstration Garden is a small (but large in spirit!) component of the Food program and has a small amount of those volunteers. These gardening enthusiasts, ready to labor in the Sacramento heat with shovel and garden shears poised for action, are my saving grace.

Having a garden volunteer makes the difference between a Kate-outside-all-day-running-around-like-a-maniac day and a Kate-happily-accomplishes-everything-and-can-even-attack-that-looming-administrative-housekeeping-piled-on-her-desk day. On certain mornings when the garden and its miraculous bounty and growth threatens to swallow me and my minuscule harvest basket it feels like Christmas when a volunteer walks through the gate. I briefly go over the pressing matters of the day, direct my trusty sidekick to a battle against pests, rogue weeds, wayward fruit or stunted growth and then gleefully attack the rest of the outdoor duties. Without volunteers, I would be working in the garden almost all day, every day. 

Imagine my excitement to find out that we have a couple great high school graduates from the GreenCorp program (job training for teens) coming to work twice a week in the Demonstration Garden starting the end of June. Woohoo! I may have danced, I may have fist pumped the air...I am excited! I was excited about how much we can accomplish and how much time will be left for new projects and development that will make the Demonstration Garden an even greater resource to the community!


So dearest volunteers, or anyone who has ever volunteered, you are sincerely appreciated. That extra help makes all the difference!  

Submitted by Kate Wilkins, Garden, Health and Nutrition Assistant at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

June 11, 2014

Making Pizza in the Demonstration Garden

In January, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS)’ Demonstration Garden team planted wheat to harvest for summer gardening classes. Six months later the wheat was ready to harvest and be used to make dough. 

Last week, SFBFS’ Garden class attendees were able to learn and join the process of creating their own dough out of wheat. 

The dough was then used to make a fresh pizza using ingredients straight from the SFBFS Demonstration Garden. Check out the photos below of the process!


Harvesting the wheat 

Winnowing the the chaff from the wheat berry

More winnowing

Making dough from the wheat berries that have been ground

Grilling pizzas

Finished Pizza #1! 

Finished Pizza #2! 

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services started teaching workshops in the Demonstration Garden in May 2012. Gardening classes include introduction to gardening, composting, pest management, irrigation, healthy food choices and more. 

If you are interested in attending SFBFS' free gardening classes, click here to see a class calendar for June, July and August. 

Submitted by Lauren Razzano, Communications Officer at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

June 9, 2014

Big Day of Giving 2014

Starting at midnight on May 6, 2014 the Sacramento community came together to support close to 400 non-profit organizations throughout the region, including Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). BIG Day of Giving (BIG DoG), hosted by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and Givelocalnow.org, was a 24 hour online giving challenge part of a national campaign called GiveLocalAmerica. The objective of this challenge was to not only bring additional funding to the Sacramento region, but also to increase awareness of the non-profit sector and the work these organizations do to make our community a better place. To make the challenge have even more impact, many local businesses and organizations contributed funds to a pool of matching dollars. This means that every dollar donated on May 6 would receive a boost from this pool of funds.

SFBFS was invited to be a participant in the BIG DoG and Communications & Development staff began prepping by attending an orientation, a full day of boot camp sessions and putting together a comprehensive social media and communications plan. As this was a new fundraising initiative for us, we weren’t sure what to expect and were excited to see what it was all about. As the weeks passed by we kept promoting the BIG DoG, posting on Facebook and Twitter, emailing current donors, also excited to see what our neighbor non-profit organizations were doing to promote the event. A buzz surrounding BIG DoG was definitely out in the community and I think we were all eager to see how successful it would be.

Midnight on May 6 arrived and donations started coming in. Facebook and Twitter were filled with posts highlighting #givebigdog. Givelocalnow.org was posting real-time updates so participants and donors could check their fundraising progress. If May 6 marked anything other than BIG oG, it would be hard to tell from the amount of coverage dedicated to the challenge.


During the 24 hour challenge, BIG DoG generated over $3,000,000 for Sacramento area participant non-profits. Over $24,500 of that funding was generated from 190 unique donors who chose SFBFS as their beneficiary organization. Of those 190 donors, 50% were first-time donors to SFBFS. I would say the objective of bringing additional funding and awareness of the non-profit sector to the Sacramento region was a success. I would also say that SFBFS was honored to be a participant in the BIG DoG and is looking forward to another successful BIG DoG in 2015!

Submitted by Melissa Arnold, Development Officer at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

June 6, 2014

An international experience at SFBFS

Last week I had an amazing international experience right here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS).

A group of 4 educators from Israel, organized by Northern California World Trade Center, were in Sacramento for a few days during their 3-week professional program, which addresses the topic Promoting Tolerance through Education. The educators work to build bridges between students of various cultural backgrounds in Israel, and are looking at how tolerance is taught in the U.S. through the educational system. Their agenda while in the U.S. included meetings with local schools, education officials and, in efforts to learn about services offered to marginalized communities in the Sacramento area, they came to SFBFS.

The educators, accompanied by two translator guides from the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, had a lot of questions during my tour and excitedly discussed my answers (The translator was always kind enough to give me a brief synopsis of what was said or clarified in Hebrew.) They explained to me that, in Israel, when a societal need is not met by governmental services, “non-government organizations”, or nonprofits, will arise to fill that need, but will also advocate for the creation of government programs that meet this need in the future. Coming from a background in Nonprofit Administration, it was fascinating to learn about how the nonprofit sector works on the other side of the world. It seemed like their favorite part was seeing our quarter-acre demonstration garden where they spent a lot of time admiring the lush summer crops coming in and asking questions about our gardening classes.


With so much discussion and a meeting with a state senator to get to, we ran out of time before I was even able to show them our food program! Luckily I was able to send them all some information via email. I was so happy when I received responses from them saying that they were very impressed and inspired by my tour all of the services offered at SFBFS. It was so amazing to have the opportunity to represent the U.S. to educators from other countries! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I had no idea what I was getting into when I was living in Seattle and accepted a one-year term at a food bank in Sacramento!

Submitted by Kira Graves, Volunteer Services and Communications Assistant at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

June 5, 2014

Seeing a familiar face at a citizenship fair

Very often, as Programs Director, I am approached by outside agencies wanting to partner with SFBFS, very often to gain access to our high volume of clients. I pick and chose these partnerships with great consideration but there are times when I know instantly that the partnership will be successful and a great benefit to our clients. One example of these instantly beneficial partnerships has been with our neighbor in Oak Park, Pacific McGeorge School of Law. 

On an informal basis, one of the immigration attorneys on faculty, Blake Nordhal, had approached the staff at our location in North Sacramento, the Saca Community Learning Center (Saca CLC), and began offering small “Know Your Rights” presentations and then one-on-one quick assessments of their situation. Many of our students became connected with Blake N. and McGeorge and had successful outcomes. One student that comes to mind is Marina, who after attending ESL classes at the Saca CLC for years and having both of her children enrolled in our Youth Education program was able to advance to English classes at the local community college. After getting connected with Blake N. and McGeorge, it was determined that she was eligible to begin the process to be naturalized. As of late 2013, Marina is now a proud US citizen! 

Throughout 2013, SFBFS and McGeorge furthered their partnership at both of SFBFS’ locations by offering Know Your Rights info sessions for both Naturalization and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). After two successful events in fall 2013 with SFBFS, and two others with other partnering agencies, McGeorge had enough applicants ready for the large Citizenship Fair in November 2013. In one day alone they completed 100 applications for DACA and Naturalization, all with the help from law students and dedicated immigration attorneys volunteering their time.

I had the great experience to volunteer my time as an individual on a Saturday in November for this Citizenship Fair. I was assisting some of the law students by translating for the Spanish speaking individuals that were there to complete their applicants. Towards the end of the day, I turned back to the line to get the next individual so I help translate and low and behold it was one of my old clients from the Saca CLC that I had taught English to in 2005 when I was an AmeriCorps member. Maria instantly recognized me and we had a great time catching up at the same time we completed her application. It was such an incredible moment to worked with someone so long ago to improve their English (which was great and I was barely needed for translation), to then years later be sitting with her completing her citizenship application. I saw her a few months ago and she let me know that she was now a citizen and she told me all about the beautiful swearing-in ceremony. 

Submitted by Genevieve Deignan, Programs Director at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

May 28, 2014

Kate's Korner: Libraries… for Seeds?

When people see the Demonstration Garden at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS), they are usually amazed. They take in the gigantic zucchini, the tasty strawberries, the innovative aquaponics system and the fantastic Kitchen Table. Generally, people marvel at how much goes on in our garden and how good it looks. What fewer people know is that the garden is not constrained to our outside area. A vital part of our garden is tucked secretly away inside the Food  program office. Have you seen our Seed & Resource Library?

In this room thousands of vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds are all eagerly waiting to be checked out, planted and producing beautiful produce and blooms! There are organized shelves full of a variety of seeds from amaranth and arugula to watermelon and wheat. A reference manual will help you determine what sun and water needs each plant has as well as how easy they are to grow and the seasons they prefer to grow. There are empty seed packets and labels offered for convenience. It’s basically a candy store for seeds!

The seeds are “checked out” and not just given away. This means we want gardeners to save some seed from their plants and return it to the Seed Library, in order to keep seeds available. In general, we want people to be knowledgeable about how to save their own seed so they no longer have to purchase new seed season after season. We have offered a Seed Saving class and have another coming up in summer that we encourage our seed “borrowers” to attend.

We also have a resource library with a plethora of books about gardening, healthy eating, cooking, and landscape design that can be checked out for a month at a time. Some of my new favorites are the vermicomposting book Worms Ate My Garbage! and native plant and edible landscape-lover’s Reimagining the California Lawn. There is also a variety of flyers and brochures about conserving water, backyard chickens, fruit tree pruning and more.

The Seed & Resource Library was instituted in order to provide free resources to people interested in gardening. It's hard to start and maintain a healthy garden without seeds and knowledge. I hope this valuable resource makes growing food more accessible to our clients as well as encourage their enthusiasm and continued learning about food production.

Submitted by Kate Wilkins, Garden, Health and Nutrition Assistant at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

May 22, 2014

Peanut Butter with a Purpose

Children in the Youth Education program at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) were invited to attend a fun event to learn all about the healthy benefits of peanut butter on May 21.

Students interact with Kim during the presentation
Led by SFBFS Health and Nutrition intern, Kim, youth learned all about serving sizes, where peanut butter fits into the My Plate chart and what fun snacks they could make with peanut butter. Kim asked the students what their favorite snacks with peanut butter were and received all sorts of fun answers such as PB&J on crackers, apples dipped in peanut butter, peanut butter spread on celery and ants on a log! The kids then learned that the spread contains protein, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, healthy fat and helps build strong bones.

After learning all about the health benefits of peanut butter, the kids stepped out to the Kitchen Table in SFBFS’ Demonstration Garden to make fun critters snacks. Kim showed the kids how to make snacks look like spiders or an octopus, and then set out apples, grapes, raisins, marshmallows and blueberries. The kids made all sorts of creative food art and then enjoyed their peanut butter snacks.



This event was in honor of Save Mart partnering with local food banks to raise awareness of the struggle many families have feeding their children during the summer months. May 11-31 all Save Mart and Lucky stores throughout the region will be collecting peanut butter to help stock the pantries of local food banks. Giving this initiative a boost, Jif peanut butter has announced a buy-one, get-one promotion making it easy for families to donate a jar of peanut butter each time they purchase one.


"I appreciate us partnering with SFBFS and think it's an awesome cause,” John Biggs, Save Mart Store Manager said. “Running the promotion with Jif so customers would give a free jar of peanut butter has greatly helped to generate donations." 

For more information about Peanut Butter with a Purpose, click here.


May 15, 2014

Donors are God’s Soldiers

When I first took on the position as the Guest Services Coordinator 3 years ago, little did I know that my outlook on life would change for the better. I was the kind of person that liked having material things in life like nice cars, clothing, shoes and even eating out at expensive eateries. My first week at Guest Services was a rude awakening for me as I saw men, women and children with little or nothing lined up at the food and clothing line at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). They all had something in common, which was a need for food and clothing and just needed the necessities in life to survive.    I realized that donors are God’s soldiers. They come to the aide and rescue for all the men, women and children in dire need for something as simple as clothing and food. Though, there will never be enough to tackle all the needs for these less fortunate individuals and families, at least they now have something they did not have before they came to SFBFS. When I saw their body language and facial expressions before they received help I could feel their sadness. After receiving clothing and food, I could feel their happiness and gratitude. Now, I appreciate all the things that I have in life and not so much wanting materialistic things that made me happy. I tend to preach to my children, family and friends to donate and help the less fortunate and be God’s soldiers in life to help the less fortunate. Again, I feel blessed to be part of SFBFS that helps people in need and has helped me to be more humble and giving. Mahalo Nui Loa, Ke’ea Oka Aina I Ka Pono!

Submitted by Ross Fontanilla, Guest Services Coordinator at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. 

May 13, 2014

Senior program at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

In May, 2008, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) undertook the development of a Community Needs Assessment with an ultimate goal ensuring SFBFS program offerings continued to be relevant and supportive of the greater Sacramento community.

One of the findings of the assessment was the prediction (by the California Department of Aging) that by the year 2020, 330,000 seniors will live in the Sacramento region, many of whom will be socially isolated and subject to poor nutrition and depression.

Building on the community needs assessment, SFBFS’ Board of Directors approved a strategic plan in April 2009, which among other things, created our Senior program. This concept is to match volunteer families and individuals with seniors who are referred to SFBFS by Eskaton, a premier senior service non-profit in Northern California. These volunteers socially engage with their matched seniors a minimum of twice a month and provide them with a generous supply of healthy groceries from SFBFS on one of those visits each month.

From these humble beginnings, the Senior program now has 45 active senior/volunteer matches and looks forward to helping many more seniors in the future!

Submitted by Marie-Louise Nelson, Senior Program Manager at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.