Ticktockers label grocery bags for postal carrier Food Drive.

Ticktockers label grocery bags for postal carrier Food Drive. (National Charity League)

Some 100 Ticktockers from the Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Charity League (NCL), partnered with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County to kick off the Foodbank’s annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive on Oct. 28.

Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank provided an overview of the Foodbank and shared a story about the new face of hunger, saying: “It’s not what you think it is”.

“Just this morning a well-dressed lady and her daughter came by and she said ‘I don’t have any food to feed my daughter,’” Talkin said.

“This is not the face you would normally encounter picking up food at the Foodbank but it just confirms that a lot of people are struggling, and a lot of young people are struggling even in our wealthy community,” he said.

Talkin shared the daunting statistic that 47 percent of students at SBCC are on food stamps and that statistic is similar at UCSB.

Following Talkin’s presentation, the Ticktockers, rotated through four areas where they toured the facility, labeled 13,000 grocery bags for the annual Postal Carrier Food Drive, sorted and weighed food; and learned about Foodbank volunteer opportunities.

Linda Dozer of the NCL shared her thoughts while volunteering with her daughter Bella Dozer:

“The Food Bank is not only an amazing organization but an essential organization,” she said. “Hunger is shockingly real in Santa Barbara County. The Food Bank provides resources, education and most importantly food to many, many families and children.”

Event organizer Kim Cantin, of NCL, said, “Ticktocker Day is an opportunity for the entire chapter of Ticktockers to volunteer together and develop leadership skills and have fun while learning about a facility in town that is providing food to 1 in 4 local folks who would otherwise go hungry.

“This year the Ticktockers were able to jumpstart the holidays with 750 pounds of donated food which more than doubled last year’s donation of 350 pounds,” she said.

The Foodbank, which has been around for 33 years, provides food for some 300 nonprofits. Any 501(c)3 can be a partner agency and order food online, thus allowing the agencies to focus on other social issues rather than run their own food drives.

The Foodbank is able to create eight meals with every dollar donated. Last year it distributed just under 10 million pounds of food.

The Foodbank also reaches the community through its different distributions and programs, such as Brown Bag program, providing groceries to local low-income seniors; Healthy School Pantry, offering nutrition education to families and individuals, as well as a bag of food to take home; and Picnic in the Park, which provides free nutritious meals to children weekdays during the summer.

In addition, the Foodbank strives to educate the community with its Food Literacy in Preschool as a way of introducing produce to preschool kids.

The National Charity League is a mother-daughter organization that fosters community service, leadership development and cultural enrichment.

— Lily Marx for National Charity League.