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

September 23, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

Out one evening grabbing a quick bite to eat, the Fichtner family was inspired by a random act of kindness.

While sitting in the drive-thru of Taco Bell, the Fichtner family was getting ready to pull up to the window to pay for their meal when the cashier informed them that the customer ahead of them in line had paid for their order.

“My children, Nathan age 10 and Katie age 7, had never experienced this type of random kindness before and were very pleased. So I asked them what we should do to pay [the meal] in forward and they suggested donating the money to a food bank.” explained mother Eve Fichtner in a letter she wrote to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS).

As fate would have it, the Fichtner family arrived home to find one of SFBFS’ newsletters in their mailbox which detailed the story of an individual named Jack who used SFBFS’ Food program in a time of need and Eve read Jack’s story out loud to the children.

With their minds made up, Nathan and Katie pooled together $25 from their own savings and enclosed the contribution in a donation envelope which accompanied SFBFS’ newsletter in an effort to keep the ‘cycle of kindness’ going strong.

The staff at SFBFS would like to thank youngsters Nathan and Katie for their donation. Every last little bit goes a long way.

September 19, 2013

Taylor's Tip for October

The month of October brings forth cooler weather, pumpkin carving, and costume parties. With so much anticipation for these exciting events, one may forget one of the most exciting of all; planting garlic!

Garlic is definitely one of the most asked about vegetables in the garden. Probably because just about everyone likes garlic and can find a reason to make space for it in their garden. Luckily garlic is easy to grow. However it can require some patience since it takes about eight months until harvest; though, it is well worth it in the end!

To get those big beautiful bulbs of garlic, one must first plant a single clove. This is actually nice for the gardener since one clove will produce one full bulb of garlic. So if you begin with a full bulb and individually plant all of the cloves, you’ll end up with more garlic than you’ll know what to do with! When planting the clove the most important thing to remember is which way is up. Plant the clove vertically with the flat base on the bottom and the tip pointing towards the top (just remember, the pointy end points towards the sky). The spacing of your cloves should be 2 inches deep and at least 4 inches apart. Give your garlic a boost by mixing in compost before planting; also, make sure to plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. Now you just have to wait.

When June finally does roll around, you will be happy that you took the time to plant garlic in October. Look for yellowing leaves ¾ the way down that are flopping over. Once you see them, stop watering for a week and prepare to harvest!

Growing garlic is very easy and well worth it. So make time in-between the candy apples and candy corn for some wonderful garlic!   

August 20, 2013

Taylor's Tip for August

Seedlings are truly wondrous. They start as tiny seed capsules waiting patiently for the right amount of warmth and moisture to break out of their shells and outstretch their brand new leaves. This magical process is unbelievable, heartwarming and downright stressful.

Those first two weeks where you are watering bare dirt can be torture. What is happening down there? Are the seeds even doing anything? It’s been 7 days already!

Whoa! Just stop, take a deep breath and remember these quick tips.

First, check the soil moisture every day. The easiest way is by touching the soil and assessing the moisture level. If it is soaking wet, hold off on watering. If it is bone dry, you should have watered yesterday; so definitely do it today! Also, they need water, but not with a fire hose. Be careful of water pressure. The wrong setting on a spray nozzle can annihilate an entire seed tray.

Second, the idea that sunlight is the same as warmth is false. The sun can be shining when it is 20°F, but it sure isn’t warm out. Temperatures also drop at night, so don’t leave your seedlings out in the cold come sundown.

While it may sound daunting, once you get into the rhythm it becomes second nature. Just keep visualizing the day you wake up to check on your dirt garden and instead find delicate leaves peaking through the soil. This moment makes it all worthwhile. When it finally arrives, heave a sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back, and then comes the frightening realization: how does this turn into a cabbage? Stop by class to find out!

Happy gardening!

Submitted by Taylor Kornman, AmeriCorps VISTA

August 16, 2013

A Letter from the Riley Family

Recently, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) received a donation from the Riley family, who have a few incredible children; Will, James and Grace. A few weekends ago, the trio of young philanthropists set up a coffee and lemonade stand in their neighborhood and chose to share their hard earned profits with SFBFS! What an inspiration to all of us!

When relying on the community for support, every little bit helps tremendously. Donors both big and small like Will, James and Grace make it possible for SFBFS to reach over 65,000 individuals each year with food, clothing, educational programming and other supportive services.

Many thanks to Will, James and Grace!

Submitted by Dana Shokes, Database Manager at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

August 13, 2013

Vision Van Visits Oak Park

It was a great joy to participate as a translator in this year’s VSP Vision Care mobile eye exam clinic with Delta Lions Club on June 25, where qualifying participants were able to get a free eye exam and receive a free pair of glasses. This event was a tremendous opportunity for clients in many of our programs here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. The Vision Van was parked alongside SFBFS’ Arata Brothers building on our main campus in Oak Park, so shoppers from our Clothing program were able to drop by the event after picking out new outfits. In addition, the students currently enrolled in our Adult Education program and gardening classes were able cross the street for services so they     could get the glasses they needed to thrive in their studies.

VSP Vision Services and the Lions Club not only provided a much needed service for our clients, but also created a warm and welcoming environment, which was no easy feat given the misty, damp and drizzly weather that day! Lions Club volunteers chatted with each other and with clients, enjoying warm coffee and creating an upbeat atmosphere. Local residents enjoyed the opportunity to socialize while they waited for their appointments. The team of two optometrists saw 33 patients that day, and 123 additional clients were given gift certificates to receive the same services with vision care providers in the area.

VSP employees educated their patients and volunteers on health issues that can be detected during a vision screening, and discussed with them the basics of vision care. One VSP employee mentioned during the event that patients generally don’t even realize how badly they needed glasses until they put them on and notice the difference. We found this to be quite true when the recipients came in to the lobby to pick up their glasses a few weeks later. Please check out the happy faces in these photos, as clients show off their new look!

Submitted by Brenda Wherry, Receptionist at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

August 8, 2013

A Letter from Girl Scout Troop 1596

Maeve, Allison and I, Leyna, are Cadets from Girl Scout Troop 1596 who worked on our Girl Scout Silver Award this summer deciding to help enhance the children’s library in Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services' (SFBFS) Youth Education program at the Saca Community Learning Center (Saca CLC), SFBFS’ North Sacramento location.

When we visited the site in the spring of 2013 we were informed that there was a need for improvement to the children’s library in the Playcare Academy classroom. This is where monthly, over 40 children, ages 1-5 years old receive free, high-quality developmental, emotional and academic support and childcare while their parents are also gaining the support they need in SFBFS’ Parent Education or Adult Education programs.

So we got to work finding books and shelves to enhance their class library. To get the books and shelves we visited many yard sales looking for donations. People were very generous when we told them we were creating a children’s library at a local food bank and we only had to pay a small amount out-of-pocket to complete the project. After gathering all the supplies, we took them to Saca CLC and helped to install the library in Youth Education’s Playcare Academy classroom. The books we brought in and sorted ranged from pre-readers for very young children to classic novels for teens, which were added to Saca CLC’s community library.   

We are very proud of our contribution and are very happy to have helped SFBFS and all the children and families that use the Youth Education program at Saca CLC. Since all of us love reading, we could think of no better way to give back to our community than to increase reading appreciation and access to quality materials for kids. Many of the books we donated were ones we owned ourselves and loved reading when we were little.

We look forward to more chances to further assist Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. 

Submitted by Leyna,