In 2010, Community Foundation Sonoma County launched a fund drive to support the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) and 147 other programs in their efforts to end hunger.
The effort raised $130,000 to support programs for providing fresh fruits and vegetables for people in need for the coming year. In a departure from its traditional competitive grant making cycle, The Community Foundation directed its entire Health & Human Service grants budget ($60,000) towards helping to alleviate hunger in Sonoma County. The rest of the funds came from current donors at the Foundation and other generous members of the community.
The drive was spearheaded by the Foundation to help feed the increasing numbers of individuals and families who don’t have enough to eat. With the $120,000, the Community Foundation provided the REFB with additional funds to pay for acquisition, transportation and distribution of fresh produce which was made available at no cost to over a hundred pantries and community and faith-based hunger relief programs throughout the county.
“We were thrilled with this strong statement of leadership from the Community Foundation in directing significant resources toward an issue as fundamental and urgent as hunger,” said David Goodman, Executive Director of the REFB. “And, the pursuit of fresh produce that addresses not only hunger but the health and well being of the recipients is truly exciting for everyone involved: donors, the REFB, agencies, and food recipients.”
The participating hunger relief agencies that work with the Food Bank to support hunger programs in every corner of the county include dozens of churches, inter-faith and Jewish agencies, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, the Committee on the Shelterless, Community Action Partnership, and many others. The Community Foundation partnered with this network of agencies during a time when the need for food in our community increased significantly. Working together, this targeted giving increases the number of meals provided and makes those meals more nutritious.
Halfway through the first year of the grant, David Goodman speaks of the positive impact that the Foundation effort has already had on hunger relief in our community. The ability to provide fresh produce to low-income people has strengthened the very roots of our collective mission. Donors have been able express their concern through generosity, the Redwood Empire Food Bank has provided the healthiest food available, and people seeking assistance have received the help they need.