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

November 30, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services!

We have lots to be grateful for this holiday season! The generosity of the community was evident as thousands rolled by on November 19th to donate turkeys for our annual Turkey Drive 7000. Over 7,000 turkeys were donated which were then distributed along with all the fixings the following Monday and Tuesday to over 6,000 families in need (the rest were distributed to other charities). Thanks to the generosity of the community, so many families who might not otherwise afford a nice meal were able to enjoy a hearty holiday meal with their families.

Of course we're thankful this holiday season for the over 25,000 participants who turned out for our 17th annual Run to Feed the Hungry 5k and 10k walk and run. In spite of cold weather, the spirit of giving was evident at this event which has become a family tradition for many. Funds generated from the event go to support all eight of our programs year-round. We couldn't do it without the support of everyone!

And the holidays aren't over yet at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. Opportunities abound to adopt a family for the holidays by purchasing gifts for the family, or start a food drive at your organization. There are always lots of ways to get involved to serve the need here in Sacramento.

For more information on volunteer opportunities see our website,
To read more about the Run to Feed the Hungry, check your local news sources, The Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Press along with KCRA.

November 12, 2010

Run to Feed The Hungry!

What are you plans for Thanksgiving morning? Start asking around, and you’ll likely hear one answer repeated again and again: “Run to Feed the Hungry.”

This event benefiting Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) is a Sacramento tradition. Families from our town turn out by tens of thousands to take part in the biggest Thanksgiving Day race in the United States.

Parents with strollers, professional runners, high school athletic teams and out-of-town guests can all be found sprinting, strolling and jogging their way through East Sacramento.

The 5K and 10K fun run and walk is expected to draw nearly 30,000 participants this year. The event, which is owned and operated by SFBFS, raises funds to support eight different programs including food assistance, clothing, mother-baby, adult education and more.

These programs offer free goods and services to more than 20,000 men, women and children in need every month.

SFBFS has owned and been the sole beneficiary of Run to Feed the Hungry since its inception in 1994. Thanks to additional donations, generous sponsors, loyal participants and a very large number of volunteers, the event is able to operate with a very low overhead, and 100 percent of the profit benefits programs at SFBFS.

In 2009, nearly $850,000 were raised for SFBFS programs and services. The event will celebrate its 17th anniversary on Nov. 25, and we hope to see you there.

The registration fee is $35 per person or $20 for children 15 and under and includes a long-sleeved technical shirt designed by a Sacramento artist.

Out of town for the turkey holiday and can’t make the run, but still want to be involved? Become a virtual runner. For just $20, a virtual runner can sleep in, visit relatives out of town and even skip the exercise. And we’ll still mail you the cool shirt.

Want to get everyone at the office involved? Have an active boy scout troop? Belong to a group that loves to give back? Sign everyone up as a team. The group receives specialized shirts with just your logo on the back, great parking, a team photo, a kickoff breakfast and more.

Individuals wanting to make an even greater difference in the lives of families in need can take part in the give and win challenge. Run participants who raise donations to benefit SFBFS earn tickets to be entered into various drawings to win amazing prizes such as tickets to see the Sacramento Kings, an iPad, a flat-screen TV, bikes, Run to Feed the Hungry gear and more.

More information about this exciting event and all the ways to get involved is available online at

October 20, 2010

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) is proud to break ground on a new building that will allow for expanded educational services to the over 20,000 Sacramento-area families we serve each month. Yesterday morning, people from all over the community gathered to celebrate with an official ground breaking ceremony. Father Dan Madigan, our founder, blessed the ceremony, while political representatives including Mayor Kevin Johnsons and Congresswoman Matsui voiced their continued support for our education and service programs. In the crowd, representatives from some of our partner agencies including Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, Soil Born Farms, and the Health Education Council, were there to celebrate with us. Four client success stories were shared and many clients and volunteers came out to the event to show their continued support and appreciation. Everyone enjoyed ice-cream from Gunther’s, located just down the road on Franklin Blvd.

The new building, which will host expanded Adult Education, Computer Clubhouse, Youth Academy, PlayCare and Mother-Baby programs, will also include an Urban Farm that will serve as an educational tool as well as a food source for an expanded Food Assistance program. The Urban Farm will reinforce our focus on health and nutrition education in all of our programs.

As the holiday season approaches we have so much to be thankful for. As we embark on this expansion, in order to meet the increased demand for services, we will continue to rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors who make it all possible.

To hear more about the new building, check out the article in today’s Sacramento Bee (see link below) and look for SFBFS is other local media sources.

September 9, 2010

The Iron Chef- SFBFS Style

Stuffed peppers, spinach salads, bruscetta, tomatillo and yogurt parfaits, these are only a few of the inspired dishes our competitors created using only food from the Food Assistance distribution. The challenge: Who can make the best, most delicious and creative meals using only food from our Food Assistance distribution and in a limited amount time? Five teams took this challenge last month as the Health Education Council hosted an Iron Chef competition here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS).

The selection of fresh produce included tomatoes, spinach, bell peppers, peaches, potatoes and corn; eggs and walnuts were also prized ingredients. Three guest judges from SFBFS staff were privileged to sample and score the delightful concoctions. Speaking as a judge, I must say we were very impressed. Not only were we impressed with the creativity of the chefs, but also we were impressed with the quality of the ingredients- the very same ingredients community members in need received that week from our Food Assistance program.

By distributing more fresh fruits and vegetables, SFBFS fosters healthy eating for those in need. Fruits, vegetables and physical activity are our best defense against the diet-related illnesses of diabetes, obesity and heart disease that currently plague our communities. Healthy foods along with health and nutrition education go a long way in the effort to improve the health of the entire community. In fact, the Health Education Council is a partner with SFBFS and several other agencies, working towards a common vision of a more healthy society.

For more information on the Health Education Council’s multifaceted programs, check out their Web site, If you are a non-profit agency interested in using the Bridge Builder’s room for a training or event please contact the front desk at (916) 456-1980.

August 10, 2010

Youth Academy Organic Gardeners

Fresh picked garlic planted way back in the winter, bright red tomatoes, and sweet, juicy strawberries, these are just a few of the garden-fresh goodies that youth academy students are bringing home from the organic garden here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS).

The Youth Academy Program here at SFBFS accommodates 16 children from first to sixth grade for after-school tutoring and activities and, currently, a summer program. This summer we are happy to have volunteer teacher Venita Sivamani to help lead lessons in the garden. These engaging lessons center on sustainable environmental practices and principles such as food webs, ecosystems, habitat loss, plant life cycles, composting/vermiculture, pollution, garden animals and pesticides and herbicides. After engaging in the lesson the youth go into the garden with Carrie, our Adult Education Program Manager, who also oversees all garden activities. In the garden they plant, weed, compost and harvest. By getting their hands dirty, so to speak, the youth get a real feel for what it takes to produce food and they begin to understand and appreciate the many layers of the intricate web of life that sustains us and all creatures.

Volunteer teacher Venita Sivamani is happy to share these lessons with the children. A graduate of UC Davis with a degree in human development and education, Miss Venita now has two years of teaching experience under her belt through her work with Teach for America. In her experience as an undergrad she learned how much kids lack education in environmental principles and issues. Her hope for the program is that the youth take the knowledge and know-how home with them to their families and communities and put into practice what they learn here. We are grateful to have dedicated and passionate volunteers like Venita at SFBFS every day, enriching the programs that serve our community.

For more information about Youth Academy or to become a volunteer check out our website,

July 22, 2010

WWA Portrait Project- Reception and Show

You’re invited to yet another amazing art show featuring the lovely ladies of the Women’s Wisdom Art Program. This time not only will the women feature their own artwork which will be displayed for view and for sale, but also the women are featured subjects in portraits by local artists Ann Tracy and George Streng. Ann and George visited WWA to photograph and interview the women and transformed these images and stories into beautiful works of art that the women get to keep. Twenty eight women are featured in the portraits.

So come on down to the Bridge Builders’ Room at SFBFS on August 7th from 5-8PM for the art show and reception- it is not to be missed!

In related news, WWA is accepting pieces from the community for the Third Annual Art Bra Show. Anything bra-inspired fits the bill, but be sure to submit before the second weekend in August. The Art Bra Show will be Saturday, September 11th.

Fun in the Sun!

On July 10th and 17th, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services hosted two Fun in The Sun Health Fairs: one at our Oak Park facility and one at the Saca Community Learning Center in Del Paso Heights. These events were open to the community to share in the spirit of health and wellness and enjoy food, games, fun, and community resources.

Many local agencies came out to provide attendees health information and services. Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation came out to provide free mammograms to pre-enrolled women. This wonderful partner organization visits SFBFS every month to offer classes on prevention and other relevant topics to our clients. Representatives from the American Red Cross were available for blood pressure screenings. In addition, several other community organizations were there to offer information about services to attendees including the veterans association, Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH), Women Infants and Children (WIC), Mosquito Vector, Sacramento Works, and SMUD.

In addition to learning about local resources, participants enjoyed a healthy lunch of grilled chicken and corn on the cob with vegetable kabobs. Children has a blast in the bounce house, got their faces painted, and had lots of fun paper windmills with glitter. Women’s Wisdom Art Program here at SFBFS had a booth where many came to try out the loom and also make handmade greeting cards.

This year marks the second anniversary of the event. We hope to continue this tradition of Fun in the Sun into the future so if you missed it this year, make sure to come out next July for some fun in the sun!

July 16, 2010

A Toy Story, By Paul Kessler

Last weekend, I enjoyed Disney/Pixar’s newest animated film Toy Story 3.

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, the loveable Andy from Toy Story and Toy Story 2 is all grown up and is heading off to college, something I see coming at me faster and faster every day. Only one year left of high school for me.

In this film, Buzz Lightyear and Woody, voiced by Tim Allen and Tom Hanks respectively, haven’t been played with in years and since it’s time for Andy start packing up his things for college, he has to choose between donating the toys, throwing them out, or storing the toys in the attic where they will be kept safe.

I won’t give away too much, but there is a very happy ending to the movie and it got me thinking.

I went into my nine-year-old brother’s room and I got out some of my old toys. After playing with them for one last time, my mom and I weeded some of the ones out that were no longer of much use to either of us and partnered those with some old clothing.

I then took all of those items down to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and dropped them off at the Guest Services area.

While it was tough to part with some of the glorious items from my childhood, I was able to get my mom to let me hold on to a special few like my Nintendo 64. But I know that donating those toys was the right thing to do and they will bring another kid the same amount of happiness they brought me.

If you are interested in donating gently used toys, school supplies, clothing or baby items, please visit for drop of times and locations.

July 8, 2010

Computer Clubhouse, By Paul Kessler

Today I spent a little time walking the grounds at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). I went to the Clothing program, the Mother-Baby program and eventually I wandered into the Computer Clubhouse. I found a group of 15 clients finishing a project on Microsoft Word 2007 as part of the Adult Education program. These learners of every age were learning basics in word processing to improve their skills and increase their chance of securing employment.

After finishing their projects, the clients munched on pizza while the program director, Charles Coger, sang “Dancing with my Baby” by Willie Clayton. After the perfect rendition, clients gave Coger hugs and said good-bye. They shared a last laugh and he told them that he would mail out their exam results in a couple weeks with their certificates. For some, this will not be the last they see of Coger.

Coger will be offering another technology class for adults starting in September. This 13-week comprehensive course on computer basics will build upon this introductory class.

Outside of class, Coger encouraged the clients to return during open lab hours to practice their newly acquired skills and search for jobs. Volunteers are at the ready to work with clients one on one during lab hours to brush up their resume, practice typing tests or peruse the internet for job openings.

If you know of an adult who would benefit from free computer classes, please refer them to SFBFS

June 22, 2010

Enter Laughing, By Paul Kessler

By volunteer Paul Kessler

“Enter Laughing.” That is what the sign on the door to the Women’s Wisdom Art Studio reads, and the ladies inside fulfill that mission. Women sit and laugh while working on their watercolor paintings. Paintings are abstract or realistic. Conversations range from family members to upcoming events to songs from TV shows to movies. A light music plays in the background.

Sometimes, the ladies get up and dance, but mainly, the music is relaxing. In fact, the mood in general is relaxed. While the women take their art seriously, they often take breaks from their art to talk and laugh. There is no added pressure. Everyone smiles and laughs.

But what is Women’s Wisdom Art exactly? This program at SFBFS offers a variety of art experiences for women who want to broaden their creative lives. Designed as a uniquely feminine environment that supports the artistic and personal growth of women in all stages of life, Women's Wisdom Art believes that artistic exploration naturally brings greater self-knowledge. Classes, which include lunch, are free and taught by professional artists. They include drawing, textiles, clay, mixed media, poetry, gourd crafting, creative writing, and painting with acrylics and water color.

Lisa, one of the clients in Women’s Wisdom Art, took some of her time in the studio to talk to me. While she (and the rest of the ladies) was working on recreating the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Lisa told me that she really likes making collages.

“I make use collages on all sorts of things,” she said. “I’ll make birthday cards or Christmas cards with collages on them. It makes me feel very creative, something I can’t say I feel when I use mediums like pencils and pens.”

But it isn’t only the art that unites these women. There is a strong sense of unity amongst them. “We have a lot of camaraderie amongst the women,” said Lisa.

Lisa appears the most talkative of the group. She is always quick to compliment everyone on what they are wearing. It’s obvious that her compliments really unite the women and make one another feel comfortable.

If you are interested in participating in Women’s Wisdom Art or know of a woman who could benefit from these free services, please contact Helen at If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Robin at

June 18, 2010

Race for The Rock, By Paul Kessler

Race for The Rock, By Paul Kessler

June 5th marked the second annual Race for the Rock, put on by Rogers Jewelry Co. in support of Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

This year, more than 400 individuals participated in the citywide scavenger hunt, where clues were sent from a database to the contestants’ cell phones. All of the contestants strapped on their safety gear, donned their light blue t-shirts and rode all over downtown Sacramento trying to find the grand prize, a Hearts on Fire diamond ring, valued at over $20,000.

Different clues were sent to different phones to avoid participants following one another and each text messaged-clue sent the contestants to many Sacramento landmarks. Stops included the Raley Field, the courthouse, Old Sacramento and the Sacramento Convention Center.

My mom and long term SFBFS volunteer Mary Kessler shared her experience. “I got to see so much of the city that I didn’t even know was there! I was really excited to find out that Sacramento had a Chinatown”

In fact, she continued to talk about the event for the next few days, telling my brother and me about different landmarks around the city that she and my dad had not even seen before.

The event lasted just two hours but from my mom’s stories, I would have thought it lasted the entire day.

Starting on the steps of the Capitol at 10 a.m., the Race concluded with an after party at House Restaurant & Bar around noon, where the winners were announced.

“The final hint was for everyone to meet at 55th and Capitol, and when we got there, everyone was coming from different directions, all in the blue shirts, it was so cool,” my mom said.

While my parents didn’t come home with any diamonds, they did manage to get a $20 gift card to the Grange Restaurant.

It seems to me like this could be the next emerging event that SFBFS has to offer, after the well known Run to Feed the Hungry, and I can’t wait until next year when I can participate in the 3rd annual Race for the Rock.

June 4, 2010

Race for the Rock

Get ready to race for the rock! This Saturday, June 5th, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services is hosting a huge fundraising scavenger hunt by bike in the downtown Sacramento area. Participants will race around the city in pairs by bike and foot, following clues they will receive via text message. The winning team will receive the "rock", beautiful jewelry donated by Rogers Jewelry Company, the host of this fundraising event, but there will be prizes for everyone- over $35,000 in prizes awarded at the after party, held at House Kitchen and Bar beginning at 10a.m. Registration is $40 per team, however the after party is open to all. This is the second year the event will be held and we expect about 2,000 Sacramento area residents to turn out.

For more information on volunteering or participation go to and check out for more media on this exciting fundraising event.

May 26, 2010

Cook for Good

Could you live off of less than $2 a meal for each person in your family? The average food-stamp allowance for a family of four with no other means is $1.99 per meal per person, meaning $2 per meal per person is the budget that many disadvantaged families in this country must survive off of every day. What kind of foods would you buy, how would you prepare them? Maybe you don’t even have time or know-how to cook....

Cook for Good is an educational program including a website, e-book, and live lessons and videos that teaches people step-by-step how to select, prepare and store meals within the $2 a meal budget. In fact, Cook for Good founder, Linda Watson, gives you all the tools you need to cook for less including shopping lists, recipes, rotating seasonal menus and more. Following this program you can cook for good for an average $1.15 a meal- even better, for $1.77 a meal you can cook for good using “green” or sustainable ingredients.

Participants in the Mother-Baby Program here at SFBFS had the opportunity to learn from Linda Watson herself in a presentation given here on April 30th. Linda showed us how to prepare a multitude of meals and snacks in 20 minutes a day- pretty impressive. Recipes included quick homemade bread, vanilla pudding, spicy peanut noodle sauté, and beans. The e-book includes even more great recipes with enough variety and flavor that nothing gets old.

Cook for Good and similar initiatives are essential to providing those in need with not only money or product, but also education and information to help them become more self-sufficient. At SFBFS we are proud to offer ever-expanding health and nutrition education and community resources at our mobile food distributions.

To learn more, visit

April 14, 2010

Cooking Recipes from a Bridge Builder

We just love getting new recipes! As our mobile food distribution continues to feature cooking demonstrations and a plethora of recipes at more sites every month, we are always happy to get new recipes. Recipes and a host of cookbook are kept in our VISTA offices, where Courtney and I use them as raw material for health and nutrition education at mobile food distributions. The following great recipe for cornbread and cheddar casserole was given to us by Pat McManus, a Bridge Builder volunteer here at SFBFS. We are always happy to receive recipes, cookbooks, and health and nutrition-related materials from volunteers and donors.

Cornbread and cheddar casserole

Heat over to 425 degrees

2T butter

2 eggs

2T milk

2 cans creamed style corn

Grated onion if you like

Cornmeal muffin mix-15oz. package (note, I used 2 8oz boxes when I couldn't find a 15oz. package)

4oz. cheddar cheese (sharp or extra sharp is best)

1/2 pt. sour cream

Grated cheese for topping- I bought a package of shredded and used 4 handfuls-certainly you could use more if you wish but be sure to spead evenly. Be sure it is sharp or extra sharp.

Melt butter in oven n 9x13 casserole dish. Swirl casserole to coat bottom of pan entirely.

Whisk eggs and milk together. Stir in creamed corn, onion and muffin mix. Cut up the 4oz. of cheddar into small pieces and stir into batter. Pour batter into casserole and spread evenly. Drop spoonfuls of sour cream over top and spread to cover. Distribute the grated cheese evenly over the batter.

Bake for 35 minutes or until puffed and golden. Can be refrigerated overnight- Needs to be reheated for 15 minutes at 350 degrees


April 6, 2010

Thursdays at Women’s Wisdom Art, By Clio Muir

By Clio Muir
February 21, 2010

Little did I know when I attended an orientation for volunteers at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, I would find myself one year later totally immersed in the Women’s Wisdom Art program. Originally, I thought I would volunteer my time, having found myself with some extra, and donate to a good cause by assisting in the art program; setting out paints, digging out canvases, helping organize the art shows, getting the breakfast together, serving the lunch of the day; just helping with a few things needed during a day spent with Women’s Wisdom Art.

My how things have changed! Now, I would never miss my volunteering Thursdays, where:

* I can’t wait to see what L.T. is going to do with her latest multi-media collage of combining ceramics leaves with a fabric and stick mask turning the whole enterprise into an inspired woodland creature.

* I’m dying to see N.R.’s next dreamy perspective of a faraway landscape by painting gradations of watercolor.

* Or the one-thousandth heart inspired piece done in all forms and mediums by L.A.

* And always no matter the project or assignment, how somewhere, someplace, a rich colorful, cascading waterfall will appear in L.’s work.

I could go on and on describing the art, but the inspiration and the thoughtfulness of the each person’s contribution has to be experienced.

This is what the program means to me: anticipating the fun, the joy and the process by which art is created, and the time spent with these lovely women. I can only imagine for the ladies who come every week from a variety of places and different circumstances, I can only imagine what it means for them…and I didn’t even get started with the glitter, or the conversations and the shared recipes taking wings that seemingly fly through the room.

March Mobile Health and Nutrition Education

Our mobile food distributions currently serve individuals and families at 10 sites throughout the city each month. Not only do clients receive a 3-5 day supply of groceries, but also clients learn about community resources and health and nutrition. This March, we focused our health and nutrition education on healthy fats and oils, teaching clients about how to include healthy fats into our diets and how to read nutrition labels in order to look out for harmful trans fats.

Do you know the four different kinds of fats: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans? Clients at this month’s mobile food distributions had the opportunity to learn to recognize these different fats by reading the nutrition label on several food products like olive oil, almonds, mayonnaise, yogurt, coconut oil, vegetable shortening and Ritz crackers, for example. Special attention was paid to recognizing trans fats in the nutrition label by checking the ingredient list for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The USDA recommends we have no trans fats in our diets. These harmful, man-made fats can never be fully broken down in our bodies. Furthermore they raise the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and other bad blood lipids while lowering levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), clogging the arteries and making them inflexible thereby potentially leading to heart attack, heart disease and stroke. By learning to read nutrition labels and guard against trans fats, clients are empowered to make conscious food choices and prevent diet-related diseases.

Children attending mobile food distributions this month had the opportunity to sample 5 different varieties of nuts. Nuts, they learned, are great for your brain and your heart- they have healthy fats and proteins to make you grow big and strong. Children and adults learned that natural fats are actually good for you. Children received a “Go Nuts” coloring book with images of all the nuts they had sampled and short descriptions of why they are good for you.

Finally, Mental Health America, the Sacramento Valley Pharmacist Association, and City Animal Shelter each joined SFBFS at a mobile distribution this month to offer their information and services to clients. We look forward to more partnerships with these and other area agencies at mobile distributions to come.

March 25, 2010

Support for Women’s Wisdom Art, By Steff Echeverria

By Steff Echeverria - volunteer/substitute teacher

For some art is born from a desire to express lived experiences that require color, shapes and textures. A place for feelings to be put on a surface of some kind-possibly in a “coded” form to shield the inner sanctum. Art as healing- this is what the students of Women’s Wisdom Art produce everyday. The studio is a safe environment where the teachers offer projects that each woman then puts her own signature on, in more ways than one. Each piece of art is infused with each woman’s herstory, personality, color preferences and her sense of style. Perhaps sharing styles or methods, yet each piece created is as unique as the swirl of a fingerprint.

The women get their inspiration from their own lives; the multi-faceted teachers in the Wisdom studio; from donated art books and magazines; also from field trips the students take to museums and galleries. The women share with each other their favorite artists and experiment with their styles, such as Magritte, Picasso, and Chagall. Some of the women have been to school for art, or are currently enrolled, or they are self-taught.

There is a classroom budget to be adhered to, yet a lot of the supplies for the 10 classes currently in progress are supported through donations of supplies as well as monetary donations. It is stunning to see what creativity comes shining through each class, each day.

I believe one of the greatest gifts of Women’s Wisdom’s Art program at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services is witnessing the transformations in the women as creativity spills over into all facets of their lives, like a sort of magic mortar. Strengthening their self-esteem and building confidence in more areas of their lives. Creativity is as necessary as oxygen-it makes life flourish!

March 19, 2010

Good Health for Seniors, By Shannin Sauliner

By Shannin Sauliner

Hurley Creek Apartments is an independent senior living community in the Natomas area. Most of the seniors are on fixed incomes and have little money or access for purchasing groceries, let alone healthy fruits and vegetables.

A group of residents began coming to our distribution at Peace Lutheran Church in early summer 2009. They quickly became some of my favorite clients. They were always quick with a hug for the volunteers and extremely appreciative of our efforts.

As our relationship with the Hurley Creek residents has developed, we have seen them grow and develop. They were very interested in giving back to the program, so they began talking in line to other clients about our resources and Change for Change drive. They have even become active volunteers at one of our other distribution sites; understanding that they cannot receive services and be volunteers at the same time.

The most exciting results though have been the ones they've seen in their own health. Residents have reported losing 10, 15, 20 pounds as a result of incorporating the fruits and vegetables we distribute. Some have seen a decrease in their blood pressure and others have even been able to go off of diabetes and hypertension medications as a result of changing their diets.

These seniors, their spirit, and their willingness to change "old" habits are an example of the success which can be achieved through our Food Assistance program when the people we serve are willing to invest themselves in making healthier choices.

March 12, 2010

What’s New at the Computer Clubhouse?

There are so many great activities happening at the Computer Clubhouse right here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services! Youth, ages 10-18, enrolled in the program flock to the Computer Clubhouse daily after school where they receive additional academic assistance and learn cutting-edge computer-based skills utilizing top software and program applications. In fact there is so much happening at the Computer Clubhouse that Program Manager, Mr.Charles, and Program Assistant, Michelle So, decided to divide the program into three modules from which each participant can choose his or her individual focus.

The first of three ongoing modules Computer Clubhouse participants can select as their focus is known as the Academic Assistance Module. In this module youth receive extra help with homework and one-on-one tutoring along with regular use of Clubhouse computers. The second module, Computer Clubhouse, allows participants to utilize Clubhouse software to learn skills such as basic computer animation, music and video production, and graphic design. Youth compile their work in a portfolio. The third module is Animation Academy in which youth are trained on a host of professional 3D animation software which they use to create 3D digital imagery, visualizations, scenes, and visual effects. With so many options for exploring technology and learning valuable skills, it is great that Clubhouse participants have the freedom to explore their own focus in one of three modules.

The Computer Clubhouse provides a creative and safe out-of-school learning environment where young people from underserved communities work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology. Computer Clubhouse is all about connections, not only throughout the international community of 100 Computer Clubhouses located in 20 different countries around the world, but also linking youth to their communities and opportunities to explore college or career in the future. The Clubhouse-to-College/Clubhouse-to-Career Program, also known as C2C, empowers Clubhouse participants to explore career and college opportunities to use and develop their technology skills and education in the future. As part of C2C, the Computer Clubhouse at SFBFS is planning a fieldtrip to VSP Vision Services in Rancho Cordova to see the career opportunities and technology utilized in this field and also to explore the possibility of establishing a scholarship for the winner of a video production competition.

For more information about enrollment in Computer Clubhouse or to learn about Computer Training for adults and seniors, check out our website,

February 17, 2010

Change for Change!

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services runs on the giving spirit of so many generous volunteers and partners in the community. It is a general standard that clients who receive services here and wish to volunteer must wait a year after first receiving services before becoming a volunteer. Still, many clients express a desire to give back in some way. The “Change for Change” giving campaign was a response to the generosity of the community and their desire to give back.

Volunteers in the mobile Food Assistance distribution of the Food Assistance Program are familiar with the huge, purple “Change for Change” thermometer sign that has been set up at Mobile distributions since early fall of last year. This “thermometer” measured the rising numbers of donation dollars received by clients who contributed spare change in the donation box during Mobile food distributions. This season we earned an amazing $613.13! We are currently looking to find a sponsor to match this total in future campaigns. Look for the “Change for Change” campaign again next holiday season.

“Change for Change” is a testament to the spirit of giving in the community, a willingness to contribute whatever one can. Thank you to all who have supported our programs over the years.

February 5, 2010

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services welcomes new Clothing Program Manager.

Here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services we are super excited to welcome a new employee, Tasha Bryant! Tasha joined our staff as Clothing Program Manager in January this year. I had the opportunity to sit down with Tasha and get to know more about her…

Tasha has a strong background working in social services. Before joining Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Tasha worked for WIND youth services for many years, running a program for homeless youth. Tasha offered great compassion and care to youth and their families in her former work and brings ideals of compassion and non-judgment to her new role here at SFBFS.

I asked Tasha why she chose to come to SFBFS and what she appreciates about our organization. Tasha has been familiar with our programs for some time and often referred clients from WIND to SFBFS for services. She appreciated the service clients received here, especially the fact that here clients don’t have to “jump through hoops” to receive service. Clients at SFBFS receive direct services at no cost and with minimal requirements. At SFBFS things are “really happening- definitely keeping it real at the Food Bank”.

I asked Tasha what she thinks some of the biggest obstacles are for receiving services in the community. She explained to me that core problems need to be addressed, not just the symptoms. For example, you can feed someone who is hungry or house someone without a home, yet that still may overlook the underlying issue. On the other hand, she continued, meeting basic needs is the beginning point for success, a concept that each individual can define for him or herself. Clearly her views are in line with the SFBFS mission of meeting people’s immediate needs while helping to move them toward self-sufficiency. Furthermore, Tasha believes each person should be greeted with an open mind and treated as an individual in a dignified manner. “You get my respect as soon as you walk in the door, you don’t have to earn it…” Similarly these values are in line with SFBFS core values: compassion, integrity, and community.

Outside of work, Tasha and her family are die-hard basketball fans. “Pretty much every male in my family has gone to school on a basketball scholarship”, she says. Her husband is a teacher and the head basketball coach at Encina Prep High School. For many of the players, basketball provides a support system and helps them succeed in all aspects of life. Tasha explains, “When you work for something, you don’t take it for granted”.

We are thrilled to have Tasha join our staff at SFBFS. Now that you’ve learned a little bit about her, be sure to meet her in person when you come out to volunteer or receive service at the Clothing Program!

February 2, 2010

Women Healing Themselves Reach out to Haitian Orphans, By Ann Robinson

January 12, 2010: The pictures in the newspapers, on TV and the Internet are devastating. The massive damage of the 7.0 earthquake is hard to imagine even when faced with screen shots. The international response to pull people from the rubble and get supplies in is heartening as is the millions of dollars raised by individual donors and a national star-studded telethon. At the same time, however, it is disheartening to see the children.

UNICEF estimates 380,000 children had already lost one or both parents before the quake and were left homeless when their orphanages collapsed. Now, as many as one-million more have been left without one or both parents following the earthquake. UNICEF has warned the scale of the crisis has jumped to “unbearable proportions”.

Here in Sacramento, the members of Women’s Wisdom Art (WWA) swung into action. WWA is a program of Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. Many of the women in the program have been battered by poverty, abuse and illness and come to WWA to heal through art. But when the scope of the Haitian tragedy became evident, these women turned their attention away from their own struggles and focused on the orphans.

My name is Ann and I volunteer each week in WWA leading the yarn art class. I felt the women in WWA could have a direct impact, by creating dolls for these orphans. Immediately the women in the class began to produce great gifts. The energy spread throughout the entire program. The fabric art class began to create dolls, the collage class began crafting puppets and the ceramic class started sculpting small hearts. The energy that comes from helping one another is so healing in itself. The women have embraced the projects and are putting their whole heart into each piece. We hope to be able to send the toys near the end of February.

For more information about Women’s Wisdom Art or other programs at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, please visit