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Foodbank Seeks More Funds to Feed Hunger-Relief Programs

Group is halfway toward its goal of serving 1.25 million meals during holiday season

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is hoping to raise $888,282 in December.
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is hoping to raise $888,282 in December. (Foodbank of Santa Barbara County)

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has announced it has reached the halfway point to serving 1.25 million meals this holiday season, including critical support to 300 hunger-relief nonprofits and programs they serve countywide, by providing healthy food and produce. But the work is not done.

During this last month of the year, the Foodbank needs the community’s support to raise $888,282 to continue its support of these nonprofits, and to sustain the organization into 2017. The Foodbank’s annual operating budget is $ 4 million in cash and $10 million in in-kind food donations.

"At this critical time of the year, it’s the financial donations that make the most impact from the community to help us fill the shelves, fuel our trucks and keep the forklifts operating,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

“We are able to convert $1 into eight healthy meals, enabling us to serve 300 nonprofits that need our support. If the Foodbank doesn’t raise critical funds during this last month of the year, we’ll have less food and resources to give to those that need it most in our community,” Talkin said.

The Foodbank transforms health by eliminating hunger and food insecurity through good nutrition and food literacy through its award-winning programs and the network of 300 member nonprofit partners. Here is a story about a senior in the Foodbank’s Brown Bag program:

Teodoro remembers the first time he got help from the Foodbank. Living on a fixed income and unable to make ends meet, he and his wife went to the Foodbank’s Brown Bag program for support, and together they chose bags of fresh produce and nutritious staple foods. Twice a month, they picked out bags of healthy fruits and veggies.

With fresh food in the house, hunger was now less of a worry. When Teodoro's wife died recently, it suddenly became much harder for him to get out of the house. This posed a real problem for Teodoro, so his daughter Eustolia, 60, started volunteering to help her father and to make sure other seniors get the nutritious food and produce they need.

At age 94, Teodoro needs fresh fruits and veggies to stay healthy. Teodoro is one of the 23,918 seniors receiving nutritious food from the Foodbank annually. Regular, nutritious meals are critical for seniors ― they need extra vitamins and nutrients to maintain a regular weight and bone health.

As the end of the year approaches, the Foodbank needs the community’s support more than ever to feed the many children, students, families and seniors its supports. Without the Foodbank's help, many of its 300 partners would not be able to provide the food needed to fight hunger in our community.

— Jennifer Zacharias for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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