Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) is such a unique organization in that we provide so much more than food to families in need. Our mission is to not only provide immediate needs like food and clothing, but to also supply individuals with the tools and resources to become self-sufficient and financially independent. To be able to see people making the transition from dependent to independent is truly rewarding.
Every month, SFBFS supports 135,000 men, women and children by supplying much needed groceries and education. In the last few years, our food distribution model has changed quite a bit. In it’s inception, SFBFS acted as more of a soup kitchen and quickly began to introduce educational components in an effort to address the root causes of hunger. As SFBFS grew, food distributions began to happen at more and more locations throughout Sacramento. As of December 2014, SFBFS merged with Senior Gleaners, Inc, and acquired a 110,000 sq ft. warehouse that now houses all of our food operations. To date, SFBFS works with more than 220 partner agencies in an effort to distribute food across Sacramento County. As of May 10, SFBFS began yet another venture in providing families with healthy food; Produce For All. These distributions will now be held in addition to the 220 partner agency food distributions. The unique difference? Only produce will be given out! Often times, individuals and families are struggling to put food on the table and in turn will result in purchasing low-quality, unhealthy foods as they tend to be less expensive. The goal of SFBFS’ new Produce For All distributions is to be able to take advantage of living in the Farm-to-Fork Capitol and provide fresh produce to families across Sacramento County.
This week, I had the opportunity to visit a Produce For All distribution right down the street from our Oak Park office. In partnership with All Nations Church of God in Christ, SFBFS hosted its first Produce For All distribution in the church parking lot. This was the fourth distribution of its kind and SFBFS plans to grow this program every month, expanding the reach to multiple locations across the county.
Even though this was the first distribution at this location, word travelled fast! We were shocked to see close to 100 people in line to receive fresh produce! Individuals received a bag of carrots, a bag of cabbage, a bundle of apples and some potatoes. In addition, SFBFS had a booth available with information about additional resources and encouraged individuals to come down and take advantage of our 15 free programs and services. Health Education Council was also on site with sign-ups for upcoming garden classes, recipe cards and more! Even a few representatives with the Girl Scouts stopped by to spread the word about youth opportunities with their program! In just over an hour, staff and volunteers were able to supply every person that came through the line with fresh produce. It was a beautiful thing to see. So many smiling faces walking away with good food for their families. It was especially nice to see some of the children in line with their parents get excited about produce.
If you’re interested in learning more about Produce For All, visit our Web site. Feeling inspired to get involved? SFBFS is always looking for volunteers to help out at events like this. Visit our Volunteer Calendar to sign up for the next volunteer orientation to get started!
Submitted by: Elise Hawkins, SFBFS’ Communications Officer