How has your summer been?
I wish I could say that the summer was a quiet time for the Foodbank, where we were all sitting around drinking kale smoothies and brushing up on our knowledge of different varieties of beets. In reality, summer was an incredibly busy time for us, especially with our ‘Picnic in the Park’ program, which provided healthy lunches and physical activities to hungry children who get no free school lunches in the summer. This year the program served an incredible 38,000 meals countywide during the program at sites staffed by volunteers. Thank you so much for the heartfelt effort of those who supported this initiative with time and money.
As we reached the end of the summer, we have compiled our statistics for the number of people served in the last financial year (ending in June) by ourselves and our network of 330 wonderful local nonprofit agencies. We discovered that the number of unduplicated people served has gone up from 104,000 to 144,000. This shows that the challenge of an economic recovery is not really allowing people more money to spend on healthy food. We have no illusions that we have our work cut out for us.
Yet September and the ‘back to school’ season is a time of hope for the Foodbank, with the beginning of a new year of our national award-winning series of ‘Feed the Future’ educational food programs for kids – from preschool to high school.
Our approach is for people to learn from their peers in the community. The ‘experts’ can come in and tell you what you should cook and how you should do it, but far more useful are trusted and respected people from a neighborhood, a street near you, who want to do something to improve the nutritional health of those around them.
That’s where you come in. These programs are all taught by Foodbank supporters: college students, mothers and fathers, the underemployed, professional people giving a couple of hours a month, seniors sharing a lifetime of knowledge. We’re proud of these teachers and what they are doing to help build a new generation of healthy young people in our county.
I hope you’ll consider joining us in one of these educational opportunities. They are as nourishing for the teachers as for the students and great fun.
Thanks for all that you are doing to ensure a healthy and hunger-free SB County