Over the past few years, constructive and proactive decisions were made to discontinue window service in our Oak Park facility and switch to an entirely mobile approach to food distribution. The goal would be for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) to provide families with greater access to fresh produce, engage with clients in a more dignified manner and offer greater services such as cooking demonstrations and health screenings.
From the very start of this transition, I assisted with the first food distribution in our community, while we were still operating the Food program through our Oak Park and Del Paso facilities. Watching the food distributions grow into what the program has now become has been a very exciting, challenging, emotional and rewarding. December 2011 was our final days of food distribution at our Oak Park facility. Some volunteers have served our Food program in Oak Park upwards of 10 years. For many of them it was emotional and hard to see food distribution come to an end at the facility as they touched many lives of people in the community through this program. Not all of the Food program volunteers switched to food distribution in the community. Some volunteers stayed on in Oak Park to continue to volunteer on Mondays and Fridays supporting the Food program by working with groups to bag and prepare all of the food for our distributions, still touching and helping those in the community in a different way.
Starting the new way of distributing food through the Food program was a very long transition. The process took several years and started in a very simple format of bringing just one truck load of food to a parking lot. It has grown it into a farmers’ market style distribution and also supplies families with nutritional information and cooking demonstrations on how to prepare the nutritional food there receiving. Switching our distribution also gave us the opportunity to get the community and partner agencies involved to aide us in our quest to supply our clients with information about their personal health. Partners provide resources and steps individuals can take to improve their lives by offering health screenings, blood pressure, blood glucose test and cholesterol screenings along with information on how to manage diabetes and obesity.
I’m proud and excited to have been here with SFBFS for the last five years and to have worked with all of the wonderful staff and volunteers that have put in impeccable amounts of work and time to help us arrive where we are today with the Food program. I’m excited to see the new growth and changes in the coming years as we strive to face and conquer the new challenges that keep us at the forefront of meeting the never ending changing needs of our clients.
Submitted by Gabriel Hall, Food Administrator