Saturday, June 30, 2012

Run 4 Independence

Runners and walkers wait for the start of Run 4 Independence 5K and 10K race.  
 This year the Run was dedicated to our organization's co-founder, Bob Fossgreen.

KCRA covered our Run on their morning news.  Here is a link to the coverage. 

The start of the race was exciting, with all of the runners and walkers making their way through our beautiful Elk Grove Regional Park.  While I waited for the runners to circle the course, I met up with a few notable supporters of Elk Grove Food Bank Services.  
Board Member Mike Retzlaff and Assembly Member Dr. Richard Pan
Sheri, Chick-fil-A cow, Shania and Harley (the dog)

I went back to the finish line to try to catch some of our Board and staff who were participating in the Run.
Deb finished strong
I missed Board Members Dean Scourtes and Chris Vogt at the finish.  I also missed Operations Manager Travis Ham.  After the race, I caught up with other participants. 
Hailey, Evelyn and Braden
Gym Bratz:  Sherrie Prettyman, Deb Luck, Pam Thompson, Victoria Johnson and daughter

We thank our community for coming out early this morning to support Elk Grove Food Bank Services.

We truly appreciate the time and effort from our enormous group of volunteers; all have done their part to make this a spectacular annual event!

To our kind sponsors who have stepped forward in support of our Mission and helped us immensely with this Run, our biggest fundraiser of the year:  Thank you!

Thanks to all! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Running Zone Makes Donation

I arrived at work to find three huge bags of donated items from our friends at The Running Zone.  I opened the bags and found them full of athletic shoes, lightly used ones.  Deb got in touch with Mimi at The Running Zone and found out about their program to collect lightly used shoes from their customers for donation to EGFBS.

These are just a portion of the shoes donated.

In addition to the lightly used shoes, our friends at The Running Zone included some new sports clothing. 

Thank you to our kind partners at The Running Zone, an active sponsor to our Run 4 Independence on Saturday, June 30, 2012.  We appreciate your faithful support to Elk Grove Food Bank Services over the years.  

The Running Zone
8470 Elk Grove Boulevard, Elk Grove, CA  95758
Phone:  916-478-9663
Located in the Elk Grove Corners shopping center across from Walmart near the drive-thru Starbucks coffee

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wells Fargo Volunteers at EGFBS

While we were at the Seasons apartments delivering food to our isolated senior clients, Wells Fargo Bank volunteered at our Dino Drive facility. They brought with them donations, nearly 77 lbs of food.

In their one hour of volunteering they filled 55 boxes for our Senior Brown Bag program and sorted through 48 boxes of canned goods!

It would take four volunteers two full days to do the boxes for the brown bag program and another day to sort through the canned goods.

And Wells Fargo Bank did it in ONE HOUR!!!
Thank you, Wells Fargo, for your continued support of Elk Grove Food Bank Services!

Mobile Pantry at Seasons Apartments

Jeff, Dale and Thieu unload food boxes for distribution.
Every third Wednesday, we pack up boxes of food and personal items and transport them to our clients at the Seasons apartments on Bilby Road.  We bring these items to serve our senior clients who are without transportation to our Dino Drive facility. 

Mauryne assists Rosa in keeping track of clients in the program,
and making reminder calls prior to delivery day. 

 Mauryne Dean is our volunteer contact at the Seasons.  Mauryne is a graduate of our Support Works program. Her mentor and other volunteers assisted her in her move out of a difficult housing situation and move into the Seasons. 

Mauryne told me of how she and her neighbors look forward to our deliveries.  "They forgot to put the Mobile Pantry on this month's calendar of events.  Everyone was concerned that your program was cancelled." 
Darrell makes sure that each food box contains fresh produce. 

Our caseworker, Renee, visited with our clients and let them know what kind of services Elk Grove Food Bank Services provides besides food and clothing.  Renee was so touched by the number of seniors and their interest in receiving help, that she will accompany the Mobile Pantry next month. 

I unloaded a food box to see what was in there. 

I also spoke with one of our clients, Rosemarie.  She said that she had been receiving our supplemental food boxes for about a year and was very thankful.  Rosemarie said, "The extra food makes a difference, I can make it to the end of each month."  She also appreciated the type of food she receives, "I don't cook.  The pots and pans are too heavy for me."

This month we included a "goody bag" full of personal hygiene products. 
 Our clients lined up to receive their food
The next time a looked up, the line was longer.

A grateful client slipped Rosa this thank you note: 

Dear Food Bank Staff,
It's never too late to "Thank You" for all your help!  I never take nothing for granted in life because life changes daily. 

These brown bag boxes are precious to me.  I'm usually eating the last of my reserves and then like magic the box arrives and its like a Christmas morning surprise.  Who would think that a roll of toilet paper would bring a smile to my face. 

Thank you from my heart.....

After the able-bodies clients come downstairs to pick up their food boxes, Jeff and Darrell made deliveries to the shut ins.  These two caring volunteers spend time with each client, making sure that things are ok. 

Rosa brought pet food for our clients' furry companions

This month we served 62 households (86 individuals), with two households on the waiting list.  Part of this program is funded by a grant from Kaiser Permanente's Sacramento Valley Community Benefit program. 

Elk Grove Food Bank Services
Mobile Pantry at the Seasons
Every Third Wednesday of the Month

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Getting the Zucchini Distributed

Maurice, Shivilie, and Chuck

Once Dale transported the zucchini from the field at Davis Ranch back to our Dino Drive facility, our volunteers worked to get the newly gleaned veggies packed into boxes that would fit in our fridge. 

Travis, our Operations Manager, estimated that we received about 800 pounds of zucchini.  We were fortunate to have picked just enough to serve clients for one week in our emergency food distribution program.

We need volunteers to help glean the veggies that are left in the fields at Davis Ranch.  This posting shows how much food is left in the fields.  Please consider spending part of your Friday morning gathering food for your neighbors in need. 

To join our volunteer crew, please call Travis at 916-690-8866. 

Thank you to Davis Ranch for this incredible opportunity to provide our clients with fresh zucchini.

Davis Ranch, LLC
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA 95683
Just 15 minutes north of Elk Grove.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why We Need Volunteer Gleaners

These zucchini (and more) were left in the field unpicked and over-grown because of the low turn-out on our call for volunteers to glean the fields at Davis Ranch.

This past Friday, as we picked zucchini, Peggy Davis made an additional request.  "Toss the zucchini that are too big on the road.  It will help keep the dust down."  We enjoyed chucking the overgrown ones on the road, seeing how far we could toss them and dodging the wayward flying zucchinis.  However, when we were done, the amount of food that was left on the road was sobering.  The photo above shows half-way down the length of just three rows of zucchini.

The beautiful verdant fields of Davis Ranch

 We re-organized our process of picking.  We had a "runner" transporting full buckets to the truck, so the pickers could stay on task.  
  In less than an hour, we picked two bins of zucchini for our Elk Grove neighbors.  

If you have time on a Friday morning and would like to join our happy group of volunteers, please call Travis at 916-690-8866.

Thank you to Davis Ranch for this incredible opportunity to provide our clients with fresh zucchini.

Davis Ranch, LLC
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA  95683
Just 15 minutes north of Elk Grove.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mobile Pantry in Franklin

We distribute food and clothing in the far southwest corner of Elk Grove every second Friday of the month through our Mobile Pantry program.  We go out there because our Franklin clients do not have access to transportation to travel to our Dino Drive facility.  Rosa and Dale loaded the truck with all the food and clothing to be distributed at Point Pleasant United Methodist Church.    
The boxes were packed with bread, cereal, cooking oil, pasta, canned veggies, fresh produce and cookies.  Rosa was so happy that she was able to gather enough packages of cookies to give our Franklin clients a treat.  
We filled the multi-purpose room with food boxes, clothing, books, specialty canned goods and additional produce.  Rosa arranged the tables so that our clients could take their time and look through and select what they needed.
Point Pleasant Church also provided our clients with some produce.  These bags contain potatoes and cabbage from the Church; with chicken and other commodities from our USDA distribution.  
 Each client signed in and verified the number of people in their family.  I heard many "ocho, " "siete," and "seis".  Our clients in this program have families that are larger than what some consider average.
 We served 28 families (141 individuals) last Friday. 
Rosa and the youngest client at Franklin Mobile Pantry.  

Many people help to distribute food to our Franklin clients.  Patricia Ramos is the volunteer coordinator, she keeps track of the clients in our program and enlists volunteers to help with the distribution.  Margarita Espinoza, Migrant Service Para-professional with the County, assisted our clients with the paper work.  Esther Figueroa, volunteer, distributes bags of food.  Don and Elsa Eliason, volunteers from Point Pleasant Church, provided carry-out service (Don) and informative workshops (Elsa). 

During our drive out to Point Pleasant Church, we were amazed how quickly Elk Grove changed from shopping centers and subdivisions to rural farmland. It was our first time driving beyond the skating rink in Franklin.  I did not realize that the United Methodist Church was located so close to I-5.  We could see the freeway just beyond the community garden (available for use by our clients) that is located on Church property.  

We enjoyed our time with our Franklin clients, although we do not speak the same language we were able to communicate with smiles and gestures.  We brought back with us gratitude from our isolated clients.  We look forward to serving them next month.

Mobile Pantry every second Friday at:
Point Pleasant United Methodist Church
3329 Point Pleasant Road
Elk Grove, CA  95757

Monday, June 4, 2012

Donation from the Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association

You can image the excitement when you arrive at work and this is the first thing you see!  After the jumping up and down was over, we found out that the amount was $17,000!  Then we had to sit down.  Take a breath.  Wow!

The Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association donated towards the purchase of a new truck for Elk Grove Food Bank Services.  In past postings you can see our one and only panel truck.  With another truck we will be able to make more deliveries to clients without transportation, pick up donations, transport gleaned produce from Davis Ranch, etc. 

Thank you, thank you, Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association!  We will be better able to serve our clients with your very generous donation! 

Gleaning Zucchini at Davis Ranch

When we drove up into the parking lot at Davis Ranch, we were greeted by Peggy Davis and her assistant, Monica.  We formed a small caravan and made our way through their fields toward the zucchini.

We were able to drive the panel truck close to the rows of zucchini for easy loading. 

Two volunteers out standing in their field. 
After a short lesson from Peggy on the art of picking zucchini, we were handed buckets and let loose in the zucchini field.  Peggy explained that her workers had already picked this field a few days ago, and that the plants were still producing but not at the same rate as the initial harvest.

I hope the three plants in my garden produce half as much as these wonderfully healthy plants.

In a short time, we filled two large bins in our truck and moved on to filling bins for other food distribution organizations in the area.

Peggy said that "many hands make light work," and it did.  We worked through the zucchini field and moved on to yellow squash.  Another lesson in the art of picking, slightly different technique required and off we went. 

Oddity of the day
We filled one and a half bins of yellow squash and four bins of zucchini.
We were a bit dirty and tired, but we came back with a new appreciation for the food we have on our tables, admiration for the Davis family's devotion to serving the community, and a sense of accomplishment in helping to get fresh produce to our Elk Grove neighbors in need.

If you can join us, our next adventure in gleaning will be on Friday, June 15, 2012.  Please contact Deb at 916-685-8453 or Travis at 916-690-8866.

Thank you to Davis Ranch for this incredible opportunity to provide our clients with fresh zucchini.

Davis Ranch, LLC
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA  95683
Just 15 minutes north of Elk Grove.