Alameda County Community Food Bank Kicks Off 2013 Holiday Food and Fund Drives

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Food Bank seeks community support to serve the 1 in 6 county residents struggling with hunger

Alameda County Community Food Bank announced today the official start of its 2013 Holiday Food and Fund Drive. The Food Bank’s goal is to provide 11 million meals to local individuals and families in need as a result of the holiday drives. In order to achieve this goal, the Food Bank must raise $4.5 million in financial contributions and 800,000 pounds of food from holiday food drives.

Leading the efforts as Honorary Chair of the 2013 Holiday Food and Fund Drive is restaurateur and television star, Cat Cora. In addition to being the first and only female Iron Chef, Cora is also president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization committed to reducing hunger worldwide.

Alameda County Community Food Bank provides healthy food to 49,000 people each week — two-thirds of whom are children and seniors. Although hunger is a year-round problem in Alameda County, the Food Bank typically raises more than half of its individual financial contributions during the holiday drives, making these efforts critical to the organization’s ability to serve the community well into 2014.

Despite being in the heart of one of the wealthiest regions of the country, research shows that the Food Bank’s clients – including low-wage or limited hour workers and seniors living on fixed incomes – rarely share in the gains of economic prosperity. Increasing costs of living associated with the recent recovery, including housing, utilities and transportation, have made it even more difficult for families to make ends meet. As a result, many of the Food Bank’s network partner pantries and soup kitchens are reporting significantly longer lines.

Exacerbating the demand are the November 1 cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as CalFresh in California), following the expiration of the Recovery Act’s benefit increase. A family of four, for instance, will lose $432 in vital nutrition assistance over a year — meaning more people will turn to food banks for help.

“In the shadow of government cuts, this will be the most critical holiday season in the history of our Food Bank,” said Suzan Bateson, executive director of Alameda County Community Food Bank. “We all know someone who is struggling with the burden of hunger. Our Food Bank is a lifeline to thousands of children, adults and seniors. The support of our community is vital meeting escalating need.”

Ways to Help
Alameda County Community Food Bank seeks community support this holiday season through a number of meaningful ways:

  •     Donate: The Food Bank purchases more than half of the food it distributes, including 15 million pounds of farm-fresh produce annually. Food banks are among the most efficient direct-impact charitable choices available: For every $1 donated, Alameda County Community Food Bank distributes $4 worth of food to the community.
  •     Traditional Food Drive: Host one or more of the Food Bank’s iconic red collection barrels in an office, school, religious organization, or at an event. Food drives help the Food Bank collect high-quality, high-demand items like peanut butter, canned meats and other staple items — and placing food in a barrel is a great way to get directly involved in the Food Bank’s mission.
  •     Virtual Food Drive: “Shop” online to donate funds so the Food Bank can purchase its most-needed items. Virtual food drives are an efficient way to support the food bank, and save precious resources that allow our fleet of trucks to deliver more food during the holidays.

The Holiday Food and Fund Drive starts November 1 and goes through January 31. To donate or register your food drive, please visit

About Alameda County Community Food Bank
Since 1985, Alameda County Community Food Bank has been at the forefront of hunger relief efforts in the Bay Area. Last year, the Food Bank distributed 26.6 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 22.2 million meals. More than half of the food distributed was farm-fresh produce. The Food Bank serves 1 in 6 Alameda County residents by distributing food through a network of 275 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community organizations, as well as direct-distribution programs including Children’s Backpack and Mobile Pantry.

For seven consecutive years, Alameda County Community Food Bank has received Charity Navigator’s top rating — Four Stars — ranking the organization among the top 2 percent of charities nationwide.

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Michael Altfest
Alameda County Community Food Bank
+1 (510) 635-3663 Ext: 330
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