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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 12:11 am | Fair 51º


National Hunger-Relief Official to Visit Local Food Bank Facility

Vicki Escarra of America’s Second Harvest will tour the Foodbank of Santa Barbara's Santa Maria warehouse.

President and Chief Executive Officer Vicki Escarra of America’s Second Harvest — The Nation’s Food Bank Network — will visit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County‘s Santa Maria warehouse from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Escarra is visiting the food bank to get an up-close and personal look with a tour of the facility and to talk with new executive director Erik Talkin about the future of food banking.

As leader of the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, Escarra has sought to increase the amount of food that is available to hungry people by enhancing relationships with corporate America, government partners and individuals. In Santa Barbara County, this motivation is seen as well with an increase in food distribution, including fresh produce.

“I join the organization at a time of amazing growth. We distributed an incredible 7.3 million pounds of food last year, with more than 2.7 million pounds of this being free fresh produce,” Talkin said. “The foodbank is the only noncommercial organization in the county with the capabilities to safely transport, store and distribute millions of pounds of food.”

In her time as president and CEO, Escarra has launched the development of a new strategic plan, brought new corporate partners into the organization and heightened the visibility of the organization with hunger-relief features in national publications and TV programs.

The foodbank, celebrating 25 years of moving people from hunger to harvest, provides a vital link between the multi-faceted food industry and people in need of food. With warehouses in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, the foodbank serves more than 220 social service organizations and churches.

More than 43 percent of those served by the foodbank are youths younger than 18. In 2007, the foodbank distributed more than 7.3 million pounds of food to more than 100,000 people in need throughout Santa Barbara County.

Kerry Main Aller is community relations manager for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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