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

January 10, 2013

Troop 4023

Girl Scout Troop 4023 of Sacramento’s St. Mary’s Parish School chose Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) as a recipient of their efforts to earn merit badges in Philanthropy. The third graders, ages 8 and 9, volunteered to create and write homemade Christmas cards for the nearly 30 seniors in SFBFS’ Senior program. On a stormy November night, they handcrafted each card and addressed them to the individual seniors from a list provided by the Senior Program Manager

Troop 4023 is all smiles after handcrafting Christmas cards for SFBFS' Senior Program

In addition to creating these Christmas cards they also collected gently used clothing and coats and delivered them to SFBFS to be distributed to families who need help, especially during the cold winter months.

Angela Yanez, one of the Troop’s adult leaders, thanked SFBFS for giving the girls a chance to give back to their community and help those less fortunate. "It was a valuable opportunity for these future leaders to engage in meaningful social service."

We thank them for their generous contributions and hope they will partner with us in other volunteer activities.  

Submitted by Marshall Graves, SFBFS Volunteer

January 4, 2013

My First Campus Tour - ¡En Español!

This afternoon I enjoyed leading my first campus tour – ¡en español! Elia, a monolingual Spanish-speaking individual who utilizes Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ (SFBFS) Clothing program, stopped by for a tour of the new Education & Technology Center. Her son is enrolled in SFBFS’ Youth Education program at Saca Community Learning Center, but she wanted to learn more about the other programs offered by the organization. SFBFS’ Programs Director, who is fluent in Spanish and often leads tours, was working off-site, granting me the opportunity to try my hand as a tour guide.

Our first stop was Adult Education, where I showed off our new Language Lab and explain its purpose. Elia was impressed that SFBFS offers Rosetta Stone software to learn English, which was made possible through a grant from State Street Foundation. Elia connected with the Adult Education Program Manager and Adult Education Technology Instructor on our tour.  She also got a peek of SFBFS’ Technology Lab where English as a Second Language students will soon begin their own PC Basics classes!

We continued on through Parent Education and Youth Education, where her son talked about how cool the youth camping trip from Saca CLC had been. We proceeded out the Demonstration Garden, where staff and volunteers were working vigorously, preparing for upcoming gardening classes. I encouraged Elia to bring her son to gardening classes during the summer. It is a fun opportunity for family bonding, as parents and children learn together how to grow their own healthy food.

Crossing the street to the Arata Brothers Building gave me the opportunity to test my Spanish vocabulary, as I do not often get a chance to use clothing-related verbiage. I correctly guessed that accessories translated to “accesorios” and sleeping bags were “Bolsas de Dormir” (at least in a few of the Spanish-speaking regions of the world).  When I received an affirmative node and smile from Elia, I knew I had chosen the correct words.  This provided wonderful moments of laughter and bonding!

I introduced her to SFBFS’ Senior Program Manager, who offered suggestions for our guest, as she struggles to help her neighbors who are in need of services for seniors. At the end of the tour I introduced Elia SFBFS’ Donation Drive Coordinator to explain how items arrive in SFBFS’ Clothing program via Guest Services.

Elia knew many of SFBFS’ faithful Clothing volunteers, who were sorting and hanging the items where she would be shopping just a few minutes later.  We finished our tour just in time for the Clothing Program Manager to open the doors to let the shoppers in!
Submitted by Brenda Wherry, Receptionist

January 3, 2013

Heat Comes to SFBFS

Who doesn’t love a situation where everybody wins? Through a four-way team effort between the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), United Way and the Sheet Metal Workers Union: Local 104 (SMWIA), future AmeriCorps NCCC teams who serve at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) will have a warm house to call home, while members of the Sheet Metal Workers Union Apprenticeship Program will gain valuable labor skills.

Greg Larkins, the Community Services Liasion with AFL-CIO/United Way along with Randy Young, Business Representative with SMWIA and Mark Paavola Apprenticeship Director of SMWIA, recruited members of SMWIA’s apprenticeship program to donate their time installing a heating system in an aging Victorian home on SFBFS’ campus. The home, located on 33rd street behind SFBFS’ original facility, will provide housing for Blue 6, the AmeriCorps NCCC teams of 11 young adults who will be volunteering this winter and spring with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA).
VITA is designed to enable low to moderate income taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets, thereby investing/spending that money locally. In addition to housing, SFBFS will provide a training site for NCCC volunteers before they are deployed throughout Sacramento to serve. Before Blue 6 moves in, the house needed a bit of a TLC, starting with heat.
The members of the apprenticeship program who installed the heating system enjoyed working with a local non-profit organization and a unique training opportunity.

“This is very beneficial experience for our apprenticeship team,” said Mark Paavola, Apprenticeship Director with the Sheet Metal Workers Union. “Usually, the apprentice program trains members in industrial and commercial installation, so this gives them an on-the-job training experience to learn proper residential installation.”

The materials for the heating system including the furnace and duct work were contributed by DDK Mechanical, Liberty Duct, WV Alton and BOS Sheet Metal.

Today’s project was not the first experience the SMWIA’s apprenticeship program worked with non-profits. In the past two years, SMWIA’s team worked on four local homes with Habitat for Humanity.
“Helping those in need is our way lending a hand,” said Paavola. “Our team gets on-the-job experience and we provide a great service to the areas we work in. Helping the community is our main goal.”

And what a help they have provided! With the project complete, Blue 6 will enjoy a nice toasty house throughout the winter, clients in the Sacramento area will receive tax assistance from conveniently located volunteers and SFBFS will have an updated facility to house future AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers. Not to mention the SMWIA apprentice team received an invaluable crash-course in residential heating installation. A tremendous thanks goes to SMWIA Local 104 and to Greg Larkins for helping connect SFBFS with SMWIA. Thank you for bringing heat to SFBFS on one of the chilliest days of the year.

 Submitted by Matt Pruitt, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer

Thunder Valley Casino Resort Brings Holiday Food to Sacramento Families

On December 20, 2012 the staff of Thunder Valley Casino Resort had a roaring good time bringing some much needed holiday relief to the families of Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). Fifteen Thunder Valley staff members arrived bright and early with a bounty of 500 turkeys and hams to distribute to the families of SFBFS’ North Sacramento facility, the Saca Community Learning Center.
Setting up quickly with the help of staff and volunteers from SFBFS, Thunder Valley’s team assembled and manned each table, handing out turkeys, hams, side dishes and other holiday treats to each visitor. As they arrived, families waiting in-line received homemade chili and hot cocoa from SFBFS’ volunteers.
Also in attendance among the Thunder Valley volunteers were Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and one of Santa’s elves. Working alongside the team distributing food, the trio from the North Pole handed out an assortment of toys and stuffed animals to children attending the event. Almost every child posed for a picture with Santa while proudly displaying their Christmas goodies. Holiday cheer was in full effect.
“It was nice to bring this special meal to North Sacramento and help the families who attend programs at Saca Community Learning Center as well as the neighbors in the community,” said Genevieve Deignan, Programs Director at SFBFS. “Thunder Valley was a tremendous help to these families.”

General Manager of Thunder Valley Casino, C.J. Graham, was pleased to have been a part of the event and offer his team’s support in the future.

“Thunder Valley Casino Resort was thrilled to help spread holiday cheer this season by providing meals to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services,” said Graham. “Each year, the Executive Team at Thunder Valley looks forward to personally distributing over two tons of food to families in need and we hope to continue this tradition for many years to come.”

In total, the event provided 500 families with all of the ingredients for a delicious holiday meal and toys for a number of children. SFBFS’ staff and the families of the Saca Community Learning Center are incredibly grateful to the Thunder Valley staff who provided food, volunteers and holiday merriment at the event.

Submitted by Matt Pruitt, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer

January 2, 2013

Chirstmas Cheer

With the help of Wells Fargo Bank and the Sacramento Kings, some Christmas cheer arrived a little early for children of Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) this year. On December 23, 2012, 42 families enjoyed lunch and received tickets to see the Sacramento Kings play the Portland Trailblazers at Power Balance Pavilion. However, there was one extra surprise waiting for the children.

At half-time, staff escorted 101 children in attendance from SFBFS to center court and presented each child with a brand new bike and helmet as a gift. Parents and children beamed with joy at the site of their brand new wheels.
The yuletide extravaganza was made possible through a partnership between Wells Fargo Bank and the Sacramento Kings as a part of the NBA Cares: Season of Giving campaign, which works with non-profit organizations nationwide to brighten the holiday season for those in need.

Many others also helped organize the festivities; Coordination of the event was provided by 50 staff members volunteering from Wells Fargo, members of the Sacramento Kings Community Relations team and staff members from SFBFS. Lunch prior to the game was supplied and catered by Pizza Guys. Last but certainly not least, bikes for the event were purchased and assembled at Walmart in West Sacramento. Thanks, everyone!

Area President for Wells Fargo, Kevin Barri, was pleased to speak on behalf of the efforts made by their exceptional partnership with the Sacramento Kings.

“The event was a fun way to give back to the community and help the children have a better holiday,” Barri said. “It’s so great to see all of the kids excited and happy.”

All of the holiday good-will and energy from the families at the game culminated into an at-home win by the Sacramento Kings that evening. While the Kings took home bragging rights for breaking Portland’s five-game winning streak, 101 smiling youngsters took home a brand new bike. A perfect way to end an excellent holiday event.

Submitted by Matthew Pruitt, AmeriCorps VISTA