Hunger Action Month 2013

September is Hunger Action Month!

by Lisa Bacon, Nonprofit Services Manager

September is nationally recognized as Hunger Action Month. Although the Food Bank and our nonprofit partners work diligently to relieve hunger on a daily basis, the month of September allows us to spotlight the issue of food insecurity and provide the public with tangible ways to get involved.  In San Diego County alone, more than 446,000 people are faced with food insecurity and about half of those people are children.

Each month, the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank feeds nearly 320,000 people throughout the county, but there’s still more work to be done. During the month of September, we are encouraging San Diegans to spread the word about hunger in our community, and there are a number of ways you can get involved. Here are just a few ideas:

- Donate: For every dollar donated to the Food Bank, we can feed three people. Your contributions help us to serve more hungry San Diegans every month. Click here to donate online today

- Volunteer: Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization. You can volunteer with a group of people (we love office team building days!) or as an individual five days a week. Click here to sign up to volunteer online.

- Host a Food Drive: The Food Bank relies on food donations from the community to serve people in need. You can host a food drive with your office, religious organization, school, or any group of interested people! To learn more about food drives and to register, click here.

- Take the CalFresh Challenge. Stay tuned for more information on how to get involved!

- Promote the Food Bank and Hunger Action Month with social media. Like the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and make your profile picture orange (the official color of hunger) to demonstrate your support for the anti-hunger movement. Bonus points if you post pictures on Facebook from your time volunteering in our warehouse!

We hope that you will join us this September (and every month!) in the important fight against hunger.

Some of the delicious pears donated to the Food Bank.

A sweet (and healthy!) donation

by Lisa Bacon, Nonprofit Services Manager

Thanks to a generous donation from Golden State Fruit and Provide Commerce, the Food Bank was able to distribute more than 35,000 pounds of pears into the community this month. This donation is aligned with the Food Bank’s commitment to providing nutritious foods to food insecure San Diegans. Pears are an excellent source of fiber, Vitamins C and K, and potassium. And they’re tasty to boot! Here are a few healthy recipes that feature pears:

Pear Mango Salsa

Honey & Pear Oatmeal with Almonds

Easy Pear Crisp

Spinach & Pear Salad

In the last fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed more than seven million pounds of produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive in the grocery store. As such, the Food Bank makes the distribution of produce a priority, so our clients on limited incomes can have access to proper nutrition.

Do you have any favorite pear recipes? Feel free to share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Employee Spotlight: Q & A with Xavier Hernandez

Meet Xavier Hernandez, the Food Bank’s Volunteer Coordinator. Xavier is one of three project coordinators here at Food Bank warehouse. He sets up projects for volunteers, gives them a quick (but in depth) explanation of the project and provides project support. Xavier is also the project coordinator in charge of volunteer scheduling working with all of our volunteer groups (corporate, faith-based, youth, military, etc.) in setting up dates and shifts for them to come out and help. Get to know Xavier and the work of the Food Bank in our Q & A interview with him. You’ll get an insider’s look into the world of volunteering and why our volunteers are the glue that hold everything together.

Q: What inspired you to work for the nonprofit sector and the Food Bank?

A: I’ve always been inspired to work for nonprofits and I just got lucky in getting this job. It’s always been an interest of mine to help people.

Q: What does working at the Food Bank mean to you?

A: It means I have a job where I feel good when I get up in the morning and I feel good when I go to sleep, where every day I’m helping hundreds (if not thousands) of people at work.

Q: Do you have any stories of volunteers who made you realize you are in the right career field?

A: I think my experience in general with volunteers has given me that reaffirmation of “I’m in the right place.” There are people like our volunteer, Paul, who is retired and he comes about two to three times per week to help out. Everyone knows him now, because he’s such a great volunteer. Just building that rapport and relationships with different volunteers and making work friends.

Q: About how many volunteers do we see per week inside the warehouse?

A: It’s approximately 530 volunteers give or take, because sometimes people cancel or they don’t show.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for people to know about the behind-the-scenes work our volunteers do day in and day out?

A: I think it’s important, because all the work done in the warehouse is done by volunteers. If we didn’t have volunteers, there’s no way we would be cranking out the volume of food we do. We don’t have enough warehouse employees to pack the senior food boxes; we serve about 8,500 seniors every month with just that program and we need about 30 people to do that. Plus, bagging all the produce for the summer lunch program and for the agencies. Volunteers also sort cans during their shifts. Basically, nothing would get done without our volunteers and I think it’s important for people to know that these are people who are coming in on their off time. They are using their free time to come in and help out their community. I think that’s huge.

Q: Are there any requirements for volunteers and if so, what are those requirements?

A: You have to be six years or older. You also need to wear closed toes shoes and appropriate clothing, so you are ready to work. You can sign up online and then show up for your shift. Then, don’t forget those closed-toe shoes.

Q: How can someone sign up for a volunteer shift?

A: Follow the volunteer link on this website and register if you are a new volunteer (there should be a button that says “Volunteer Now”). Once you are registered, you can look at the online sign-up page and sign up for any available days. Shifts are posted monthly.

Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learned working for a nonprofit?

A: I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned for me personally is not being negative. There was a time in my life that I was pretty negative. Working here, you see all the positivity. There are a lot of positive people here; not just volunteers, but employees. Everyone is really excited to be here, everyone is really excited about the work they do and we do good work. We’re helping more than 350,000 people per month.