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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Wins $45,000 in National Competition

Here is the scenario: The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County had to finish in the top 40 of a national contest, Fighting Hunger Together Challenge, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation and Feeding America, in order to win $45,000 to help local children in need — no small task in competition with major cities throughout the country.

On Monday, with less than 48 hours to go and the Foodbank falling behind, the organization had issued a plea and a challenge to the community for 1,000 votes to secure a winning spot.

As Tuesday dawned, the final day of the challenge, the nail-biting began as the Foodbank remained outside of the winners’ circle — in position 43. The Foodbank had to pull ahead with just hours to go. Friends and supporters had been voting all month long, but with major new funding at stake, our community moved into high gear.

At the close of the challenge, Santa Barbara had climbed the ranks, with the additional 1,000 votes, from 43 to 28 in a single day, securing its spot among the top 40 and winning $45,000 to help feed local children through its Picnic in the Park Summer Food Program.

“We know there were groups and individuals in the community, and others far from Santa Barbara, spending time sending out the message to vote on our behalf. It was thrilling for us to see how much support the Foodbank has and how people are prepared to swing into action when we need help,” CEO Erik Talkin said. “Thanks to everyone who helped us reach our goal. Now we can focus on our real goal to make sure that Santa Barbara County is healthy and hunger free.”

In its third year, the Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park Summer Food Program promotes wellness and healthy eating during summer months and helps bridge the gap for children throughout Santa Barbara County who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year, but face the summer without. About 84 percent of children in the county who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year get nothing in the summer months. For many children, what should be an exciting season for play with friends, a family vacation or time at the pool, can instead mean a time of hunger.

Picnic in the Park provides 2,500 local, low-income children 35,000 free nutritious meals (more than 700 meals per day throughout Santa Barbara County) and educates kids, families and the public about healthy eating and staying active. Whole Foods Market (Santa Barbara) is supporting the Picnic in the Park Program through a generous donation of 38,000 durable lunch bags.

How to Remove the Walmart Facebook App

If you were among those who contributed your time by voting for the Foodbank through Facebook, thank you and the following instructions will allow you to remove the Walmart app from your account: Log in to your Facebook account and go to Privacy Settings>Apps>My Local Walmart, then click “edit” (small pencil icon) then “delete.” This will remove it from your profile.

— Danielle Deltorchio is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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