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Food Bank Hunger Awareness Story: Concord, CA

Journal Story

One of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s largest recipient of food is the Monument Crisis Center in Concord, California. They serve over 3,500 people each month and in January they served over 5,000 people.

A few teens in the community thought the back pack program was such a great program that they created their own back pack program called Students 2 Students. The high school students would bag the groceries and hand it out to the younger children on a Saturday – thus the name Students 2 Students.

Recently the turnout for this special food distribution was decreasing. Was it the short time frame of the distribution – just one hour once every 2 months? The families had to sign up their children each time and they received a phone call a few days before to remind them of the extra food available for their children. Or was it that the food distributed changed from canned food to fresh produce? The High School students knew the fresh produce was needed – but did the families not want it? It was so much better for the children.

All by the chance of an email, did a few volunteers of the Monument Crisis Center come up with the solution – not because they researched the problem, more because they were hungry and started emailing about pancakes. An idea – let’s serve pancakes at the food distribution – wouldn’t that be fun? The teen volunteers would love the extra things to do and pancakes, fresh fruit, juice and hot chocolate on a cold day sounded so good.

The special Pancake and Produce Day was approaching and the families were called to bring their children to the Students 2 Students day on the upcoming Saturday between 10am and 11am. They hoped for a better turn out than the 50 children in November. The volunteers arrived at 9am to start bagging the groceries and preparing the breakfast. The smell of pancakes and hot chocolate was very inviting. The fruit salad consisted of apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, melon and strawberries. Suddenly at 9:30am, the volunteers looked outside and there were over 50 people in line. Not just children, but moms and dads. The complete family! They opened the doors 30 minutes early and invited the guests to sit down for breakfast. The guests were absolutely silent waiting for the time to eat. The teen volunteers started breakfast early so they could handle a second shift of guests. They had no idea that they would be so overwhelmed with people for breakfast (a good overwhelmed)!

At the end of the morning the volunteers served over 128 children (a new record) with breakfast, bags of fresh produce, bread and peanut butter and a toy that each child was able to select. Not to mention that the parents also received a hot and nutritious breakfast. The teen volunteers asked several people what was the draw to get them to come and pick up the extra food for their children. The guests all confirmed that it was the opportunity of having a hot breakfast. They explained that often they do not have the extra money for breakfast food so they do not get breakfast. This also turned out to be a family outing. For the families it was a wonderful chance to eat together, for the student volunteers it was a chance to help their neighbors and for the children it was a chance to receive a hot breakfast and the extra food they so need.