Meet Sandra Rabourne, the Food Bank’s Special Events Planner. Sandy is responsible for planning and managing all of the Food Bank’s fundraising events including our annual gala and our upcoming Blues Festival on September 7. The goal of our events is, of course, to raise money for our vital hunger-relief programs. The other important goal is to cultivate relationships with future donors and volunteers. Get to know Sandy and the work of the Food Bank in our Q & A interview with her. You’ll get an insider’s look into how we fundraise and why fundraising is so invaluable to our hunger-relief programs.
Q: What inspired you to work for the nonprofit sector and the Food Bank?
A: Early in my career, I worked in the publishing industry in corporate America as an executive responsible for building profits for book and magazine publishers. It was an exciting part of my life filled with travel and amazing learning experiences, but there was always a part of me that had a strong desire to work in the world of nonprofits. We all dedicate such a large part of our life to our work and I felt that I wanted to contribute to my community in a greater way and I knew volunteering on my days off from the publishing world wasn’t going to completely fill that inherent need in me. Six years ago, I committed to changing my career path and joined the nonprofit sector. I spent several years at another local nonprofit organization where I learned the business of how to successfully market and fundraise. I’ve been with the Food Bank only a short time, but my desire to join this team and support our mission to advocate for the hungry and educate the public about hunger stemmed from the fact that the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank is a local mission that represents San Diegans helping fellow San Diegans. To help people right here in my own community was extremely important to me.
Q: What does working at the Food Bank mean to you?
A: Working at the Food Bank means I get to help provide hope for the 350,000 San Diegans that we feed each month. It means that I get to be part of solutions to hunger issues in the great City of San Diego and it means that I get to be part of an amazing community of people who share a common goal. Each morning when I walk through the parking lot to work, I watch all of the agencies lining up to get food that they will distribute to others in need. Bearing witness to that early each morning drives me to come to my desk and do the work that I do.
Q: Why are events and fundraisers so valuable to the Food Bank?
A: Events and fundraisers are a platform to convey the message about the services we provide and engage people in our mission. If you can bring people together in a fun and entertaining atmosphere, they open up to learning about what our organization does right here in our own backyard. It is a space and time for our donors, advocates, staff and volunteers to get to know one another on a deeper level and exchange ideas that will support our mission.
Q: What has been your favorite event to plan for a nonprofit (either here or at a previous organization)?
A: That is a difficult question to answer! Events all become sort of like children and I could never have a favorite. Each event has a group of dedicated and passionate people that believe in the cause it will support and selflessly give of their time. Events also each have their own unique personality and theme and so much consideration goes into the large and small details.
Q: Being the latest person to join the team, describe what your first week was like.
A: My first week was full of pure amazement. I remember going on a warehouse tour and watching the dedicated volunteers and employees work. The warehouse is this bee hive of activity and energy. I remember staring in amazement at all of the cans of food and bins of produce. It was this incredible moment of realizing how many people are involved in getting the food here and managing the process of distribution. The warehouse tour was like watching one of my favorite quotes come to life: “When you eat a piece of fruit, think about the person who planted the tree.” I encourage people to schedule a tour and learn more about what we do.
Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learned working for a nonprofit?
A: The greatest lesson I have learned from working for nonprofits is that when you give of yourself and your time you will be rewarded tenfold in how you feel inside. There will always be suffering in life, but there will also always be hope and the ability to give back in life. When I was young, I used to think that I had to travel to third will countries to truly give back. What I’ve learned is that we can give back right in our own communities. Hunger isn’t only a third world issue. It is an issue happening right here in sunny San Diego. Of our 3.1 million residents in San Diego County, approximately 500,000 people live at or near the federal poverty level. That means they are going without vital services such as food, health insurance and the fulfillment of basic survival needs that many of us take for granted.
Q: Why are volunteers such an important part of Food Bank events?
A: Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. Our human capital is our greatest asset. What many people don’t know is that we only have a staff of only 40 people. Over 15,000 volunteers a year help us to fulfill our mission. Our goal is to always make sure a volunteer is matched according to their skill set to the right job. It’s a great way to get out into the community and get real life experience. Event volunteers help us to successfully produce events and we need more help! If someone wants to get involved, they should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What’s the next event lined up and what does it entail?
A: The Aimloan.com San Diego Blues Festival takes place of Saturday, September 7 at Embarcadero Marina Park North on the glorious San Diego Bay from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. It is a day of music and fun all benefiting the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. To purchase tickets and learn more go to www.sdbluesfest.com!
On Wednesday, July 17th, we held our first-ever Annual Meeting & Reception which was attended by elected officials, the media, our nonprofit distribution partners, donors and supporters.
The meeting began with opening remarks from Bruce Hollingsworth, who chaired the Food Bank’s board of directors from 2010 to 2013. Boardmember Annie Goshert then administered officer elections and welcomed newly-elected board members. Bruce Hollingsworth spoke about his time with the Food Bank and congratulated Larry Cleary for his appointment as the new chairman of the Food Bank’s board of directors.
Following Larry Cleary’s remarks, our CEO Jim Floros gave a presentation about the Food Bank’s work over the last fiscal year and outlined our plans for the coming year. Our final speaker for the evening was Elaine Javey who is a former Food Bank service recipient. Elaine talked about her past struggles raising five children and how the Food Bank was there for her when she needed help. Elaine is a Food Bank success story having recently gotten a full-time job at MCRD and she now volunteers at our food distributions. Following the meeting, attendees were given tours of our 72,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility to see how the Food Bank feeds so many San Diegans in need every month.
Congratulations to our new board members and a special thanks to all of our supporters who attended the meeting!
Today is the day to celebrate the wonderfully delicious and ever so popular sugar cookie! This cookie has been a popular sweet treat in the U.S. for generations (especially during the holiday season) and it is simple to make. That may be why it is the cookie most bakers turn to when looking to quickly satisfy those with a sweet tooth!
An average sugar cookie consists of these ingredients: sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla and either baking powder or baking soda. Each cookie racks up an average of 160 to 500 calories, depending on its size. According to Calorie King’s website, to burn off 160 calories alone, it would require about 45 minutes of walking, 18 minutes of running or 13 minutes of swimming.
However, as celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak says, it’s important to allow yourself a “cheat” day, but to remember moderation is key.
With that piece of fitness advice, we wanted to find a couple healthier options, so we can all have a taste of the sweet life without the guilt. We came across two options in our search that sound incredibly yummy and each recipe substitutes some of the standard ingredients with lighter, healthier options.
Here’s one way to indulge in your sweet tooth without letting go of your self-control!
Once they pop out of the oven, allow them to cool and have a scrumptious National Sugar Cookie Day!
The Fourth of July is not only a day to spend with family and friends celebrating our country’s freedom and independence, but it’s also a holiday that features lots of delicious food! Here are a few healthy and simple recipes featuring seasonal fruit that can give your holiday an added spark!
The face of hunger in San Diego County is ever changing. The recession brought with it a new group of people facing food insecurity. People who once held jobs but were laid off due to budget cuts. People who were forced to move in with family members or even live on the street because they could no longer afford their mortgage payments. People just like you and me. As the economy slowly recovers, social service agencies are wondering what’s next for their programs and the clients who receive services from them. On Wednesday, June 12, two research analysts from SANDAG came to talk to Food Bank staff members and nonprofit partners about their projections for what’s next in San Diego County. As first responders to the needs of people in San Diego County, it’s important that social service agencies always have their finger on the pulse of the community. SANDAG’s projections provided key information about what to expect in the next five, ten, and even forty years.
Key findings from SANDAG’s presentation included an emphasis on the County’s elderly population and the surge of “Baby Boomers” moving into retirement. This means that more people are available to volunteer for nonprofit organizations, and more people will also be living on fixed incomes with the potential need for services. Additionally, San Diego County is a minority-majority county, which means that no one race category makes up more than 50% of the population. The county’s racial and ethnic diversity means that clients have a variety of cultural and language needs.
With SANDAG’s guidance and expertise, the Food Bank and its valued partners are able to evaluate current services and build their future programs to best meet the needs of San Diego County’s most vulnerable populations. To learn more about SANDAG, please visit its website.
The Food Bank and the San Diego Public Library are teaming up to collect food donations at all 35 branch locations this summer! The food drive, Reading (and Feeding!) is so Delicious, will be hosted in association with the library’s “Reading is so Delicious” theme.
“The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank is very grateful to the San Diego Public Library System for hosting a food drive on our behalf. It is a very important time of year for the food bank to receive donations ahead of the summer months, when donations drop, but, while some low-income children continue to receive free school meals through the summer, many others do not and their parents are forced to turn to the Food Bank for help. We encourage the public to support the food drive to help us serve individuals and families in need,” said Food Bank President & CEO, James Floros.
Library visitors are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items. If San Diegans donate enough food to fill one barrel at each branch library, that will provide 7,000 pounds of food to help meet the needs of hungry neighbors.
Our most needed nonperishable food items include:
- Canned meats (tuna, ham, chicken)
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruit
- Canned soup
- Canned beans
- Peanut butter
Keep an eye out for the red bins at your neighborhood library from now until August 15th!
Meet Lisa Bacon, the Food Bank’s Nutrition & Nonprofit Relations Supervisor. Lisa oversees our Food To Nonprofits Program, which provides food to nearly 350 San Diego nonprofits including shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries in communities throughout the county. She is in charge of compliance, food safety, nutrition education, and capacity building for our nonprofit partners in the program. Get to know Lisa and the work of the Food Bank in our Q & A interview session with her. You’ll get a fantastic look into the world of hunger-relief and how the sector serves the San Diego community.
Q: What inspired you to work for the Food Bank and the nonprofit sector?
A: “Before graduating from college, I had no idea that I would end up in the nonprofit sector. I landed a temporary job at a local nonprofit organization right after I graduated, and fell in love with the environment. I saw the job posting for the Food Bank, and jumped at the opportunity to work at an organization with such an important mission. Luckily, my skills were a good fit for the job, and I was hired to join the team!”
Q: What does working at the Food Bank mean to you?
A: “Because I work at the Food Bank, I am able to give back to our community every day. It’s a privilege to work for an organization that not only addresses the immediate needs of low income people in our county, but also provides resources and information for long term hunger solutions. I believe strongly in the mission of the Food Bank and am proud to work for an organization that impacts so many people.”
Q: Do you have any stories of service recipients who made you realize you are in the right career field?
A: “Any time I arrive at a distribution site and see people receiving food packages or hot meals, I’m reminded of why I come to work each day. One time, during a visit to a soup kitchen, I ran into a man who had told his children that they were at the distribution to volunteer but would stay for dinner afterward to share a meal with the clients. In reality, the man had lost his job and his family needed food, but he was too ashamed to tell that to his children. With the economic downturn, many families who had never faced hunger before had to rely on the Food Bank to make ends meet each month.”
Q: Why is nutrition so important for the Food Bank to focus on?
A: “Unfortunately, low-income individuals and families are faced with many barriers when it comes to accessing healthy foods. Food deserts impact many low-income neighborhoods in San Diego County, and even if fresh food is available nearby, it’s often too expensive for people to purchase with their limited budgets. Although it seems counterintuitive, many food insecure people are also overweight or obese because of these accessibility issues. The Food Bank is working hard to address this issue through the distribution of fresh produce and nutrition information, and through CalFresh outreach. We understand that families rely on our food packages to help them through the month, and we want to ensure that we’re providing them with healthy, nourishing foods.”
Q: Why are nonprofit agencies so important to the Food Bank?
A: “Our nonprofit agencies are essential to the fulfillment of the Food Bank’s mission. These nonprofits are the hands and feet of the Food Bank around the county, and the experts on the needs within their community. We are proud to provide these nonprofit partners with food so they can extend our reach and provide ongoing support to those in need.”
Q: Why do you think it’s important for people to know about the work the Food Bank does day in and day out?
A: “Before I started working at the Food Bank, I had no idea how the organization operated. All I knew was that the Food Bank fed hungry people. And while the most basic elements of our mission are compelling, they don’t tell the whole story. They don’t mention the food drives, the hours donated by dedicated volunteers, the miles driven for deliveries by our committed warehouse team, and the investment of the entire staff in providing food to our county. I would encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the Food Bank to volunteer here! It’s a great experience that really sheds light on the operation as a whole.”
Q: How are clients with food allergies handled? And how do you know they have food allergies?
A: “Clients are encouraged to share any dietary restrictions or allergies they may have with the lead volunteer or staff member at their local distribution site. Our nonprofit partners do their best to accommodate different dietary needs with gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, nut free, and kosher items. If a client receives a food package that includes an item they cannot eat, they are asked to return the item to the volunteers at the distribution. If possible, the item would be replaced with something the client could safely eat.”
Q: Working as a nutrition educator here, what is your favorite healthy recipe?
A: “Great question! I love to cook (and eat!), so sharing healthy recipes is one of the best parts of my job. I just made these delicious and easy Honey Yogurt Berry Pops last weekend. They are the perfect summertime snack—or even breakfast, if you’re feeling adventurous! I use frozen berries to cut costs, and buy whatever Greek yogurt is on sale.”
Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and today’s national holiday celebrates that advice. Vegetables are a key part of a healthy lifestyle. The Food Bank is proud to distribute millions of pounds of fresh produce to low income neighborhoods every month. Many of these families would not otherwise have access to fresh fruits and vegetables due to their high cost and limited availability.
The average person needs between four and five servings of vegetables a day. But what is a serving? A serving of vegetables could be two small bell peppers, 12 baby carrots, 20 cherry tomatoes, or 10 broccoli florets. Unfortunately, 75% of Americans are not eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. This disparity has been linked to the cost of fresh produce, the difficulty in preparing vegetables to eat, and the short shelf life of most vegetables. The Food Bank is working hard to reverse this trend, distributing over five million pounds of fresh produce throughout the county since July 1, 2012 and providing healthy recipes to teach clients how to use the produce they receive.
Although fresh is typically the best option, vegetables can also be purchased frozen or canned. Frozen and canned vegetables have a longer shelf life, making them more appealing to low income families who cannot afford to throw away food. Frozen vegetables maintain a high level of nutrition, as they are processed at the peak of freshness. Canned vegetables should be purchased in the low sodium variety, and rinsed before cooking or eating.
For more tools and information about eating healthy, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
Here are a few of our favorite vegetable-based recipes that you can try at home:
The summer months are a critical time for hungry San Diegans. Donations to the Food Bank drop dramatically, but demand increases due to thousands of children living in poverty who stop receiving free school meals and their parents are forced to turn to the Food Bank for help.
To help the Food Bank provide food to families in need, the San Diego County Fair is hosting a food and fund drive for the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. On Tuesday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 18, Food Bank volunteers will be collecting food items at the fair’s front gates. Fairgoers are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items.
Our most needed nonperishable food items include:
- Canned meats (tuna, ham, chicken)
- Canned fruit
- Canned soup
- Canned beans
- Peanut butter
However, for those who will not be attending on one of the two days, there is another way to help feed families in need throughout the county. Throughout the entire fair season, Food Bank volunteers will be collecting monetary donations at the information booths. Those who make monetary donations will receive discounted or free “bounce-back” tickets, so they can visit the fair a second time. All proceeds from this food drive will provide meals to hungry San Diegans throughout the summer months.
We’ll see you at the fair!
In partnership with Point Loma Nazarene Univeristy’s Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, the Food Bank launched its first-ever survey of its client population. This groundbreaking survey “puts a face” on the population the Food Bank serves daily.
Point Loma Nazarene chief economist, Dr. Lynn Reaser said, “People standing in the Food Bank’s lines are working families who cannot afford to make ends meet, senior citizens forced into early retirement by the Great Recession who are living below the poverty level, and, sadly, children living in poverty who live in ‘food insecure’ homes and often do not know where they will get their next meal.”
Here are some of the highlighted findings of the study:
- A majority of households the Food Bank serves, 66%, have at least one wage earner, but cannot make enough to put food on the table.
- Over half, 55%, of the households the Food Bank serves are Hispanic and nearly one-third, 29%, is Caucasian.
- Nearly a quarter, 24%, of the seniors the Food Bank serves were forced into early retirement because of job loss.
- 46% of the households the Food Bank serves have received help from the Food Bank for less than six months.
With the vital information found through this countywide survey, the Food Bank will be better equipped to bridge the gap between it and government programs establishing community partnerships to better serve the needs of nearly 350,000 hungry San Diegans every month at 153 distribution sites throughout the County.
During Tuesday’s press conference, our CEO James Floros said, “We work over 350 nonprofit organizations every month… really bring together that community conversation to see if we can break that cycle of poverty.”