The Flying Samaritans know the true value of giving back!

Volunteer Spotlight: Flying Samaritans

by Cristina Sierra, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

Many organizations out in the community volunteer with the San Diego Food Bank to dedicate their time to really make a difference at our distribution center. This month, we would like to shine the spotlight on the Flying Samaritans. The Flying Samaritans are a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring free healthcare to underrepresented communities in Ensanada, Mexico.  The organization brings physicians and dentists to clinics in the region, as well as attending orphanages with healthcare personnel. This wonderful organization does a lot of good for the people of Mexico; nevertheless, they realized they wanted to make a difference in its local community of San Diego.

The Flying Samaritan’s Lead Coordinator, Yalinda Hernandez, learned of the San Diego Food Bank online. “It was very easy to find the website and all the information necessary to volunteer,” said Hernandez.

During their volunteer shift, the Flying Samaritans assembled our 30-pounds boxes filled with food products for our Senior Food Program. The Food Bank provides food assistance to tens of thousands of fixed-income seniors every month. A majority of the seniors we serve live at or near the poverty level and struggle every month to put food on the table. The Flying Samaritans assembled 357 of our senior boxes, weighing a total of 10,710 pounds! Wow! What an amazing effort!

The seniors we serve have worked all of their lives only to face hunger in retirement. Thanks to the Food Bank and many organizations like the Flying Samaritans who volunteer at the warehouse, the seniors we serve are able to live with dignity in their golden years.

The San Diego Food Bank's new Virtual Food Drive platform has already yielded more than 301k meals!

Thankful Thursday: Friendly Competition Drives Local Company’s Virtual Food Drive Well Beyond Its Goal!

by Michael Minjares, Grant Manager

BuyAutoParts.com’s Company Culture Committee set a modest goal of $150 for its recent Holiday Food Drive to support the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Giving back to the community in which it works is a core company value and the food drive provided a great way to give back. But thanks to a little friendly competition and fun incentives, the local business soared beyond its initial goal finishing its drive with more than $1,980 in donations of cash and food.

“Everyone here was all for it,” shared Darrion Bernaldes, a marketing specialist for BuyAutoParts.com and member of the Company Culture Committee. “Like a lot of people, I was really surprised with the level of participation. Our committee received several emails from our coworkers saying how much they liked this charitable opportunity. It was well received.”

According to Bernaldes, the Virtual Food Drive element of the competition was easy and quick to set up. A Virtual Food Drive is an online platform that allows individuals and groups to help the Food Bank purchase nutritious food products by making financial contributions safely and easily online. The group worked with the Food Bank’s Development Associate Grace Harrison to customize its online donation platform.

“Grace was great to work with,” Bernaldes said. “We asked a few questions, sent in our logo and we were good to go.”

Once the Virtual Food Drive platform was set, BuyAutoParts.com organized a competition by dividing its 140 employees into teams. As an incentive to encourage participation, company executives committed to purchase lunch for the members of the winning team. Both food donations and cash contributions counted toward a team’s total. Bernaldes said the competition aspect was a key motivator for many of his coworkers to be generous and participate.

The success of BuyAutoParts.com’s Holiday Food Drive has been mirrored by many other organizations. In fact, more than 100 virtual food drives have taken place on behalf of the San Diego Food Bank this fall and winter. The new, customizable platform makes it easy to set up, track and personalize a virtual food campaign. The new platform has been a hit with organizations big and small.

“I have heard nothing but positive feedback about our new platform,” said Robin Skale, the Food Bank’s Food Procurement Coordinator. “It’s very easy and user-friendly. The individual company’s branding displayed on the webpage helps donors feel safe and secure about providing credit card information. The groups I’ve spoken with are also motivated when they learn that for every dollar donated the equivalent of five meals is provided to low-income community members.”

The Food Bank sends a heartfelt “Thankful Thursday” thank you to BuyAutoParts.com and its employees for providing nearly 10,000 meals to San Diegans in need!

We would also like to send this same sincere sentiment to all the organizations and individuals who have arranged or participated in a Virtual Food Drive in 2015. Your willingness to help our neighbors in need continues to inspire our work and makes a significant and positive impact right here in our community.

If you or your group would like to set up a virtual food drive – the opportunity exists all year long, not only during the holidays. For more details contact Grace Harrison at gharrison@sandiegofoodbank.org or at 858 – 863-5130.

Special thank you to the individuals, companies, schools and community groups listed below that have hosted a Virtual Food Drive for the San Diego Food Bank!

Together, they have raised a collective 309,800 meals so far! Wow!

Applied Data Finance

Audi San Diego

Babes and Brews

The Berries

Beta Nu Sigma

Biocom

BuyAutoParts.com

Charlie Glass

Cibus US, LLC

Cloud9 Real Time

Cooley, LLP

CUSO Financial

Delivered Dish

Desk Hub

DPR Construction

Erika Ulring

Fish & Richardson

Folio Design

Gage Elementary School, PTA

Girlfriends Care

Hairstylist Lolita

Highrank Gives Back

HM Electronics, Inc.

Homes Media Solutions

Jerabek Elementary School

Johnson and Wood Insurance

Julie Nguyen

Kaiser Permanente, La Mesa Medical Offices

Kaiser Permanente, CSC

Kforce Staffing & Solutions

Kyocera

La Jolla Pharmaceutical

Land Rover San Diego

Liana and Isabel Puga

Lions International, San Diego TFC

North County A/E/C Industry

Old Aztecs Rugby Club

Otay Water District

Paul Hastings, LLP

Point Loma Nazarene University

Porsche San Diego

Precision Diagnostics

Qualcomm

ResMed

San Diego Association of Diabetes Educators

San Diego Penn State Alumni Association

San Diego State University

San Diego State University, ROTC DET 75

San Diego Superior Court

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Santacon 2015

Savory Group

Scripps Research Institute

Scripps Research Institute, The Peter G. Schultz Laboratory

Seaspine

Sequenom, Inc.

Upper Deck

Verimatrix

Verint Systems, Inc.

VICON

Vigor Systems, Inc.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Advisors