San Diego, California

San Diego Food Bank

We are immeasurably grateful to Xavier Hernandez, Volunteer Coordinator at the San Diego Food Bank for making room for two more volunteers even though he had a full volunteer team in place (yay San Diego community!). The food bank is a huge operation with a huge mission. We helped box food that will ultimately be distributed to nearly 800 elderly citizens in the San Diego area.

More about San Diego Food Bank (from their website):

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County. Last year, the Food Bank distributed 22 million pounds of food, and the Food Bank serves, on average, 370,000 people per month in San Diego County.

The Food Bank receives food from the USDA, food manufacturers, food retailers, the agricultural sector, food drives, and through financial contributions that enable us to purchase protein-rich foods, fresh produce, and dry staple foods such as beans, oatmeal, and rice. We also benefit from the generosity of more than 28,000 volunteers annually that help to sort and distribute donated and purchased food products.

The Food Bank works to acquire, store, organize, and distribute food through a network of 330 nonprofit partner organizations that include food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless and residential shelters, youth programs, senior centers, and low-income daycare centers in communities throughout San Diego County.  The Food Bank also distributes food directly to those in need at 183 distribution sites throughout the county.

In 2010, the families of Joan and Irwin Jacobs and Stephen and Marjorie Cushman donated $1.76 million to pay off the Food Bank’s mortgage on our Miramar warehouse facility making the organization effectively debt free. To honor the generosity and long-term support of both families, the Food Bank was renamed the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

San Diego Food Bank on the web:
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Charleston, West Virginia

Manna Meal

We stopped by Manna Meal to help serve lunch with the absolutely awesome team there. Huge thank you to Leslie, Camellia, and Jean for all of their graciousness and love and for all of the work they’re doing in their community. We’re so blessed to have spent time with them.

More about Manna Meal (from their website):

Manna Meal Inc. (MMI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that operates a soup kitchen located inside St. John’s Episcopal Church in the heart of downtown Charleston, WV. MMI thrives through the generosity and support of our community to provide a safe haven, no questions asked. We are not a government agency and rely solely on contributions from our community and grants that we write.

We have been feeding the hungry of the Kanawha Valley since 1976. Over that period of time, we have grown from serving a single person a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bowl of soup, to a vital part of the community serving as many as 400 people each day well balanced nutritious meals.

We serve two meals a day (breakfast & lunch), 365 days a year, to individuals and families that include the homeless, mentally challenged, under-employed workers as well as people who simply cannot make ends meet.

“No questions asked,” is a cornerstone to our mission. We believe strongly that we do not need to ask any questions about your income, faith, or housing situation to feed you. Our mission is “so the hungry can eat”

Manna Meal on the web:
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Cincinnati, Ohio

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St. Vincent de Paul

I headed to St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati, Ohio to help with the food pantry. Joining me for the day was author/musician/Cincinnati native and one of my closest friends, Nathan Singer.

More about St. Vincent de Paul (from their website):

For more than 140 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has quietly cared for those in need throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County. More than 900 volunteers care for people in their own neighborhoods, visiting the homes of people in need more than 7,500 each year. In addition to providing immediate help with pressing needs such as food or utilities, we operate southwest Ohio’s only Charitable Pharmacy; seven thrift stores that provide furniture, clothing and household items to people in need; a comprehensive social service office; seven food pantries including the Edyth & Carl Lindner Choice Food Pantry in the West End; and the Ozanam Center for Service Learning.

St. Vincent de Paul on the web:
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Twin Cities, Minnesota

Second Harvest Heartland

We stopped by Second Harvest Heartland in the Twin Cities to help prepare food for distribution.

Before beginning our shift in their warehouse, we were given a brief orientation including a powerful video about hunger, the challenges faced, and how Second Harvest is addressing the issue in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Thank you to Kate, Megan, Brenda, and Dan for joining us!

More about the Second Harvest Heartland (from their website):

Second Harvest Heartland works to reinvent hunger relief through leadership and innovation. As the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization, our goal is not only to help our hungry neighbors today, but to provide the means for everyone to be fed tomorrow. We’re known for distributing great amounts of food quickly and efficiently; in 2012 alone, we collected, warehoused and distributed more than 76 million pounds of food—but we’re also constantly pioneering ways to reduce waste and better use the abundant resources available in this land of plenty.

Second Harvest Heartland is a member of Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks serving every state in the United States. Membership means access to millions of pounds of surplus food and grocery donations from manufacturers and producers throughout the country.

Second Harvest Heartland on the web:
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Omaha, Nebraska

Open Door Mission

The organization is doing a lot to help those in need from clothing to food to housing to life skills–they’re doing it all. Thanks for letting us see your operation! Big thanks to Steve Frazee for discussing the Mission and to Hannah who showed us the ropes!

More about Open Door Mission (from their website):

Open Door Mission is a Gospel Rescue Mission founded in 1954 committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Each day, Open Door Mission’s campus offers 816 safe, shelter beds to homeless men, women and children, serves over 2,000 hot, nutritious meals and provides preventive measures to more than 275 people living in poverty. Staff would love to give you, your family, your co-workers, or your church a tour of Open Door Mission Campus. You will be able to see first hand how lives are being Changed.

Open Door Mission on the web:
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Denver, Colorado

Denver Rescue Mission

I had an opportunity to help prepare and serve lunch with a dedicated team of volunteers. It’s a beautiful thing to see a community come together and bond over service.

More about the Denver Rescue Mission (from their website):

Denver Rescue Mission is changing lives in the name of Christ by meeting people at their physical and spiritual points of need with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens.

Denver Rescue Mission on the web:
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Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks Community Food Bank

We stopped by the Fairbanks Food Bank to see how the organization and volunteers were serving the community in one of the farthest flung stops from home. I found an energetic and compassionate group dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of others, especially those spread out in communities with geographic accessibility challenges. Thanks to everybody in Fairbanks for being so warm and inviting!

More about the Fairbanks Community Food Bank (from their website)

Founded in 1982, the Fairbanks Community Food Bank collects and redistributes donated food to individuals and agencies. Food donations are received from the local community and about 100 commercial vendors. Food is distributed through many programs including Food Boxes, Bone Builders, and Agency Shopping.

The Fairbanks Community makes a difference in the lives of neighbors by sharing resources. The people of Fairbanks truly live the lessons taught by the Stone Soup Legend –– Fairbanks Style. The vision of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank is:

  • To have no one in the Tanana Valley die of starvation
  • To have no child in the Tanana Valley go hungry
  • To provide food assistance to everyone who meets federal poverty guidelines, if it is requested

Fairbanks Community Food Bank

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Portland, Oregon

Oregon Food Bank

We visited the Oregon Food Bank in Portland, Oregon where we met a dedicated group of volunteers that not only work hard together, but also spend time together outside of the warehouse. They were a truly welcoming and loving community and it was hard not to immediately share in their spirit.

More about Oregon Food Bank (from their website):

We’re probably not what you expect when you think of a food bank. In Oregon, we do things differently.

We started off like most food banks did back in 1988. That’s when Interagency Food Bank and Oregon Food Share merged to become Oregon Food Bank, and we distributed USDA Commodity Supplemental Food to over 200 hunger-relief agencies.

Today, Oregon Food Bank collects food from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources. We distribute that food through a Statewide Network of 21 Regional Food Banks and approximately 970 partner agenciesserving all of Oregon and Clark County, Washington.

It seems like a big job, and it is. We absolutely couldn’t do it alone. But, distributing food is not the entire job. Like we said – we do things differently in Oregon.

St. Vincent de Paul on the web:
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Boise, Idaho

Idaho Foodbank

I had an opportunity to visit the Idaho Foodbank in Boise to see their operations. Within that massive warehouse, there’s a lot of magic going on. In addition to sorting donations, I also had a chance to learn about their innovative backpack program that helps fight child hunger in school kids. This was such a beautiful experience and I won’t soon forget it. Such a loving and dedicated group of people.Big thanks to Teena, Mike, and everybody else there!

More about Idaho Foodbank (from their website):

The Idaho Foodbank is an independent, donor-supported, nonprofit organization founded in 1984, and is the largest distributor of free food assistance in Idaho. From warehouses in Boise, Lewiston and Pocatello, the Foodbank has distributed more than 135 million pounds of food to Idaho families through a network of more than 230 community-based partners. These include rescue missions, church pantries, emergency shelters and community kitchens. The Foodbank also operates direct-service programs that promote healthy families and communities through good nutrition.

 

Idaho Foodbank on the web:
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