When I announced to my family that I had been offered and accepted a position with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) they were all thrilled and immediately wanted to know how they too could get involved. Luckily for them, there are many ways to support SFBFS, including six programs and various events throughout the year. To help my family learn more about the programs SFBFS offers and the clients who benefit from them, I invited them down for a tour of the Oak Park facility. The looks on their faces as we walked through the Education & Technology Center, the Demonstration Garden and the Arata Brothers building made me feel so proud to be part of an organization that does so much good for the Sacramento Community.
Since then supporting SFBFS has truly become a
family affair. My husband and mother-in-law volunteered to hand out food and
water at the 20th annual Run to Feed the Hungry. My sister and mom
cleaned out their closets and brought bags full of clothing down to donate to
the Clothing program. My Oma crochets baby hats and booties and donates dozens
of them to the Parent Education program on a regular basis. In fact, she was
even featured in the February 2014 donor spotlight.
I am humbled and honored to be part of such a
wonderful organization and to be able to share that feeling and experience with
my family is very special. Their support over just the past few months is
overwhelming and fills me with gratitude. I look forward to many more months
(and years) to come of supporting SFBFS as a family.
Submitted by Melissa Arnold, Development Officer at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.
April 23, 2014
Tomatoes, peppers, and soil - oh my!
This month has been a whirlwind in preparation for Green Acres' 2nd annual Garden Day. While pleading with Mother Nature and the deities of seed germination, a cadre of garden staff and volunteers seeded 700 pepper plants over two months ago hoping they would grow into gorgeous seedlings by Garden Day -- and they have! We have about 700 seedlings of various hot and sweet varieties to hand out to attendees. We were also thankful to get a sponsorship from local nursery Green Acres. They have generously donated 300 tomato seedlings. Along with space limitations, in the last couple weeks I was battling the well-known Sacramento phenomenon – HEAT. Armed with my water hose I spent many afternoons battling evaporation and wilting tomato leaves on the 400 seedlings currently housed outside the greenhouse. The generous application of water at crucial times means more tomatoes to share with everyone on Garden Day!
In addition to our plant giveaways, we have invited a number of local gardening and community organizations that will offer information and resources for community members. There are live cooking demos scheduled, as well as some short workshops about solar cooking, vermicomposting and seed starting! Not to mention Turtle Foods has donated Tofurky deli meat and the fantastic volunteers will be whipping up sandwiches all afternoon.
It’s going to be quite an event and I hope to see you there!
April 11, 2014
Students in the freshman iWorld class from Sacramento New Technology High School stopped by Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) last month to tour our Oak Park campus and learn more about our six programs. Students were led through the Education and Technology Center, where they learned about our Adult Education, Parent Education and Youth Education programs. They were engaged in learning about the technology classes offered in Adult Education and the baby boutique in Parent Education.
Next they headed to the Demonstration Garden to see how SFBFS is teaching people how to eat healthier by demonstrating how to grow and prepare your own produce. The students were really interested in the different plants and the greenhouse.
The last stop on the tour was the Arata Brother’s building, which houses the Food program, Clothing program and Senior program. The students saw a video about SFBFS’ mobile distributions and loved seeing the farmers’ market style in action.
Read some of the comments below from the students who visited:
“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to come and tour your facility…I am really thankful to be in a community that has this resource.” – Kenneth A.
“While touring, I learned that the food given out at the mobile distributions is mostly all local produce. I am appreciative of the stress on the importance of eating healthy.” – Devon C.
“I was very happy to be able to hear and see your educational programs above all else. We all know that education is very important and it was nice to see how you were helping with this.” – Valena A.
“I appreciate how you’re teaching adults nutritional information, so their children will be better nourished with fruits and vegetables.” - Stephanie K.
Submitted by Lauren Razzano, Communications Officer at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.
April 10, 2014
As the new Volunteer Services and Communications Assistant, one of the things I am pleased to hear so often is “Wow, I never knew you guys did so much.” My response is always “I know, right!?”
When I accepted this year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA working at a food bank in Sacramento, I had no idea what I was getting into. Luckily for me, and the Sacramento community, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) does a whole lot more cool and exciting stuff than just handing out food.
For example, a few weeks ago, I volunteered in After School Academy. Now, I had never tutored middle school-aged children, but I learned so much watching Miss Krystal calmly address each of the thousand questions I’m sure she gets everyday while also joking and laughing with the kids like they were her own family. Then, after study time, the kids had Science Club where they made colorful, exploding volcanoes – so much fun for both the kids and volunteer tutors alike! I had to wonder, are all food banks like this?
In Adult Education, I am meeting people whose lives have been changed because of the ESL classes and GED tutoring services offered here. I even met one woman who said when she first came here 3 years ago, she couldn’t even say hello in English. Now she is studying to take her GED in English, can you believe it? And what made it possible was that she was able to bring her daughter to Playcare, SFBFS’ on-site childcare program for children 1-5, while she was attending some of her classes. Surely this isn’t typical of all food banks.
What is possibly the most important element at SFBFS is the staff. Everyone here genuinely cares about the programs they work in and the people they help. Whether it’s taking the time to meet individually with every parent who is entering a child into our Youth Education program or throwing community baby showers for expectant families in our Parent Education program, SFBFS’ staff are prepared to help people on an individual level.
We are not just working to serve The Hungry or The Unemployed population, we are working to serve our fellow beings, each unique in their own set of experiences, hopes and concerns. Here, we are helping individuals and their families to make a plan for self-sufficiency and financial independence, providing them with the tools and encouragement they need along the way. And I couldn’t be happier to be part of such an amazing team!
Submitted by Kira Graves, Volunteer & Communications Assistant - AmeriCorps VISTA at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.