Volunteering with the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano

Last month, the Compass team got together for an afternoon of lunch and giving back to the community. We had the honor of participating with the Contra Costa Food Bank to pack and sort food to distribute to our community. Compass takes pride in supporting our community and families in need.

What is the Food Bank?

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has been supporting thousands of families within the area since 1975. Within their first inaugural year of opening, the organization had delivered 36,000 pounds of food to families across Contra Costa and Solano counties. The need for food is ever-growing and scarcity is more prevalent than ever. As a partner of Feeding America, the largest charity aimed to ending hunger in the United States, the Food Bank has expanded their reach, including two warehouses in Concord and Fairfield, and working with 260 local nonprofits that support their hunger-fighting efforts. Now in 2022, the Food Bank delivers more food in one day than their entire inaugural year! With partnerships and outreach, the Food Bank has grown to become second responders in times of crisis. This includes natural disasters, economic turndowns, government shutdowns and COVID-19.

Why is this so important?

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the definition of food insecurity is “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active healthy life.” It’s common for people to use food hunger and food insecurity interchangeably, but hunger refers to the personal sensation of discomfort, while insecurity refers to the lack of financial resources to purchase food at the household level.

It doesn’t seem like an issue for a state as big as California, but food insecurity affects families not just statewide, but worldwide. In California alone, 1 in every 6 residents rely on the Food Bank for emergency and supplemental foods. Families often struggle with financial resources and find it difficult to afford groceries. The Food Bank believes that nutritious food is one of life’s basic needs and has made it their company mission to support local families and hunger-fighting organizations across 18 Northern California counties.

Where does the Food Bank get the food?

There are several avenues that the Food Bank receives their food from!

  1. Donated food – the Food Bank receives regular donations of fresh and local fruits and vegetables in partnership with the California Association of Food Banks. Other nonperishable foods come from wholesalers, retailers, food drives, farmers and individuals.
  2. Government-funded programs – all collected food is 100% American-grown USDA food and funds through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).
  3. Wholesale food purchasing– through bulk purchasing the Food Bank can provide two meals for $1!
  4. Feeding America – this organization is the largest hunger-relief charity in the US and has connected the Food Bank to other food banks, expanding their reach and serving more families
  5. Grocery recovery – through Feeding America, the Food Bank arranges for their partner agencies to conduct grocery recovery pickups from retailers including Target, Costco and Safeway to prevent perfectly edible food from going to waste.

How can I help?

The Food Bank is always looking for ways to get the community involved, including:

  1. Monetary one-time/monthly donations or company matching,
  2. Hosting a virtual food drive,
  3. Donate an unwanted vehicle,
  4. Add the Food Bank as a charitable organization through Amazon Smile
  5. Host food drives, virtual or in-person with your work, school or event,
  6. Or volunteer at their Concord and Fairfield warehouses!

Fun fact: the amount of work that volunteers put in annually is equivalent to 50 full-time employees! It’s because of the people who come together to serve families in need that helps keep this organization going. We’re very grateful to partner with the Food Bank for our first volunteer event, and we look forward to more events to come!

If you’re looking for your next volunteer opportunity for your company, get in touch with the Food Bank today and support your community.

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