Feeding SB County

By on Oct 30, 2017 in Giving, People

Members of the Yardi Marketing team gathered for a two-day conference in sunny Santa Barbara. As the conference drew to a close, theMarketingFB team celebrated with a volunteer service event at The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (Foodbank SBC).

Foodbank SBC is moving the community from hunger to health. The organization is “not only feeding but teaching how to fish.”

Leslie Velez, Development Coordinator, explained, “Our motto means that the Foodbank helps clients move beyond a state of food insecurity through education and resources. With many of our programs, food distribution is offered alongside nutrition education, cooking instruction, exercise classes, and connection to support services like CalFresh and blood sugar testing. We want clients to have the tools they need to live healthy lives.”

Foodbank SBC first works to ensure that clients have access to enough healthy food to feed a family. Of 10 million pounds of food distributed each year, half is fresh produce donated by groceries and local farms and gleaned from people’s homes.

To continue the fishing metaphor, the organization has also created “the net,” a network of partners. Members include gardeners, many of who are Master Gardeners, who teach gardening classes year-round.

Budgeting classes are led by a partner nonprofit to help people shop smart for food.

The Foodbank also issues “fishing” tools, programs for growing food, preparing food, and using food in a way that improves food security.

The Feed the Future initiative encompasses six educational programs geared towards youth and teens. Food Literacy in Preschool and Healthy School Pantry collaborate with local schools to promote access to fresh produce and provide an enhanced understanding of nutritional intake. Healthy School Pantry serves more than 8,000 clients.

Kids Farmers Market gives kids an interactive experience with growing fruits and vegetables, selecting healthy product, and preparing nutritious meals. They are given resources to take home and share with their families. There are 22 monthly programs at elementary schools and community centers in the United States.

Teens Love Cooking is a series of hands-on workshops that teach cooking skills. Local chefs and cooks volunteer to teach the teens safe food preparation tips as well as quick, healthy recipes. The series culminates in a cooking party where teens prepare a meal for their families.

These programs save lives. Each year, 24 percent of the local population receives food support through the Foodbank’s 300 programs and partners. More than 38 percent of those recipients are children. The organization sees the young demographic as a new opportunity to build “food literacy.”

“The Foodbank’s definition of food literacy is a person’s ability to look after themselves with food – to budget, shop, cook, and use food responsibly. I would say food literacy also includes an understanding of how food choices affect your health, the food system, and economic trends,” said Velez.

None of these programs would be possible without contributions from the Santa Barbara County community. To spread the word about the program and gather resources, Yardi helped the organization prepare for its fall food drive.

Yardi Marketing team members volunteered at the Santa Barbara warehouse. Volunteers helped the organization repurpose paper bags by applying stickers for this fall’s postal carrier food drives in Santa Barbara and Goleta. The Foodbank distributes 50,000 bags to collect food and non-perishable items.

The organization’s bi-annual food drives are the largest source of food donations each year. Typically, Foodbank SBC collect upwards of 40,000 pounds in food through each mail collection campaign, roughly 80,000 pounds per year.

In fewer than two hours, the volunteers updated 5,000 bags. Their efforts will help to end hunger in the county while conserving natural resources

Yardi’s Marketing team is Energized for Good! Join us by making a donation or attending one of The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s upcoming events. Learn more about how Yardi is participating in the Foodbank’s End Hunger Games corporate challenge in Santa Barbara.