First Feed the Hungry™
We Serve the Food Banks that Feed California so that no Californian goes hungry.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chairman & CEO, John Healey
Corporate Secretary, Brenda Coker
Fr. Dan Madigan
Message from our Chairman/CEO
This past year at California Emergency Foodlink can best be summed up by one word: refocusing. Our mission remains unchanged: getting food to those in need by working with food banks throughout California. However, in January we began the process of turning over our local food program to Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, a move that allows us to refocus on our statewide distribution program.
The transition was seamless, due in large part to the dedication and hard work of Foodlink staff, as well as the hard work and enthusiasm of the Sacramento Food Bank. Going forward, Foodlink now works with the Sacramento Food Bank just as we do with any other county in California. This refocusing of our mission allows us to increase our service to rural remote counties, specifically by expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables through our “Donate Don’t Dump” program, as well as commodities available through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). We provide tailgate produce distributions in remote areas such as Alturas, Crescent City, Susanville, Jackson, San Andreas, as well as many other communities, and also deliver truckloads of fresh produce to food banks all across the state, including, of course, right here in Sacramento.
Foodlink has also been called into action by the state to provide emergency food assistance to Californians impacted by the drought. We have put together a program of which we are very proud. Every week, Tuesday through Friday, our bus picks up a work crew from Loaves and Fishes, a wonderful agency providing emergency services to the homeless. Foodlink pays these hard working men and women $11.10 an hour to pack food boxes for those in need. It is truly inspiring to see the joy and dedication our crew brings to their work. Foodlink trucks then take the food boxes to food banks and distribution sites in the counties that have been declared disaster areas by the Governor. It is a very powerful experience for our crew to be able to help someone else, instead of being the ones receiving help. We are also very proud that a number of our workers have moved on; their job at Foodlink enabling them to find housing and full-time work.
The coordination and collaboration it takes to balance the TEFAP program, the DDD program, and the Drought Assistance program requires an extraordinary level of dedication and commitment from Foodlink staff. While this report has charts and numbers that quantify our efforts to feed the poor, it does not really tell the story of the hard working people making up not only the Foodlink staff, but the staffs of food banks across California who dedicate themselves every day to meet the needs of the poor
It is not acceptable that in our state one in every seven people go hungry. It is not acceptable that in our state people are forced to make decisions between food or medicine. It is not acceptable that in our state, parents go hungry so that their children can eat what little food they have. Foodlink remains committed to doing everything we can to make sure that families in need have access to food. We have refocused and rededicated ourselves to the battle against hunger, and we invite you to join us.
John Healy, Chairman/CEO
Our Year in 2014
We can sum up our year in A SINGLE PHRASE: From field to Foodlink to food bank to fork, TOGETHER WITH OUR network, FIRST WE fed the Hungry.
WE SERVE THE FOOD BANKS THAT FEED CALIFORNIA™
Our mission is to First Feed the Hungry by providing food banks throughout the State with the services, food and equipment they need but do not have available locally. We collect and distribute the most nutritious food we can and deliver it throughout the State, the most populated state in the Nation. We do this through out network of 48 food banks and their 2300 food distribution sites, including food banks, pantries and shelters.
Emergency Food Assistance Program
In 2014, California received 105 million pounds of commodities through the The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), a federal program offering price support to the nation’s agricultural industry and providing supplemental food to households in need. Working with our government partners and food bank network, Foodlink managed California’s commodity ordering and delivery process. We planned purchases, submitted orders, monitored progress and reported receipt of delivery. We also took physical delivery of the commodities headed to the 29 rural, remote food banks serving 37 of California's 58 counties, storing and later delivering those commodities when and where needed.
In 2014, California received about $31 million in TEFAP entitlement funding, its fair share of the commodity purchasing “allowance” allocated nationwide. Working with each food bank in our network, we identified and placed orders for the items they most needed that would best complement their other food donations. Foodlink’s network ordered a wide variety of food items and pantry staples like rice and beans that households use regularly.
In addition to entitlement commodities, California also received “bonus” commodities offered in amounts and types determined by the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2014, 48 percent of the TEFAP food we ordered came through the bonus program. This food would have cost our network an additional $41.4 million if we had been required to purchase it using our entitlement allowance.
Commodities: Entitlement vs. Bonus 2014
(click on chart to enlarge)
DONATE DON'T DUMP PROGRAM
For over 20 years, Foodlink has been providing its network of food banks with fresh fruits and vegetables donated to us by farmers and food producers through a program we created entitled Donate-Don’t Dump. This effort began as a means to discourage the agricultural industry from turning over in the fields or dumping fresh, nutritious food too blemished for sale. It has since fostered the creation of hundreds of similar programs throughout the country.
In California, Foodlink’s Donate, Don’t Dump program has given rise to the California Association of Food Bank’s Farm to Families program. Farm to Families now provides the larger food banks in our network with regular fresh produce deliveries. Our Donate-Don’t Dump program continues to receive Farm to Families food on behalf of the 33 rural, remote food banks in our network. These food banks have limited resources, and limited food storage and distribution capabilities. Without our help, these food banks would be unable to offer fresh food to their households in need.
In 2014, Foodlink provided rural, remote food banks with 123 “tailgate" distributions of fresh fruits and vegetables at 32 different locations throughout California. Designed to allow needy clients to select wanted items, in a farmer’s-market-style experience, we tailored the exact services we provided at each distribution to meet the needs of the local food bank we were serving. Our services included receiving the food, repackaging it as needed, loading it for delivery, driving it to the site, setting up the site, handing out food, cleaning up and taking away any leftovers. In the process, we may have even held a baby or two while their caretakers chose fresh, nutritious food to take home.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Whenever a Presidential or gubernatorial disaster is declared and the food supply is impacted or employment is affected, Foodlink works with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to plan, coordinate and execute an effective food response. Often, this involves distributing USDA commodities and/or State-purchased food items to households.
At the beginning of 2014, California was in a state-declared emergency for an ongoing drought disaster that had been declared the previous year. Central California counties were particularly hard-hit due to the number of people in the agricultural labor force who were out of work.
In 2014, Foodlink ordered and received food and repackaged it into 402,000 disaster boxes, delivering over 280,000 boxes to 23 of our networked food banks (storing the remainder for prepare in advance for delivery in 2015). In addition to packing disaster boxes for distribution, we assisted locally with food distributions and provided other disaster-related services our agencies requested. Affected households received a supply of disaster food expected to last around five days.
Foodlink is able to gear up and respond to disaster efforts quickly because we have significant resources and long-established relationships with CDSS and USDA. We have also forged close working partnerships with Sacramento area agencies, such as Sacramento Loaves and Fishes <http://www.sacloaves.org>, that allow us to offer employment to their homeless clients. In 2014, crews we hired from Loaves and Fishes, supported by our warehouse team, packed all of the disaster boxes we delivered. Foodlink has been so fortunate to have their help.
Interesting Facts about our 2014 Drought Disaster Efforts
- The 402,000 disaster food boxes contained a well-rounded selection of beans, rice, canned chicken, canned fruits, canned vegetables and other pantry items.
- Our disaster packing work crew included 35 homeless people.
- We are serving almost 25,000 disaster-impacted households in 23 California counties, and are planning for more as the drought worsens.
How You Can Help
On our website, we say that you can make "stamping out hunger" more than just a slogan. We invite you to do that by taking one of more of these five actions—
DONATE MONEY—Every non-profit organization feeding the hungry can use your financial assistance. You can donate to us here.
DONATE FOOD—Any one of the food banks we serve <http://www.foodlink.org/network/> would be happy to accept your donation of household food items, as long as they are unopened and not stale-dated. If you have a large donation, like a truckload, please contact us <http://www.foodlink.org/contact/>. We'll pick it up and deliver it to food banks in need, free of charge to you and them.
LEARN ABOUT HUNGER—There are many resources available online for learning more about hunger and poverty in California and the United States. We've assembled some information sources <http://www.foodlink.org/learn/> to get you started.
VOLUNTEER AT YOUR LOCAL FOOD BANK—Most food banks rely heavily on volunteers to help with a variety of activities from sorting to food distribution. Contact a food bank <http://www.foodlink.org/find-a-food-bank/> near you and ask how you can help.
ADVOCATE—The best way to change something is to advocate for it. Learn how to begin here <http://www.foodlink.org/advocate>.
California Emergency Foodlink
WE SERVE THE FOOD BANKS THAT FEED CALIFORNIA™
5800 Foodlink Street | Sacramento CA 95828 | 800-283-9000
Full Annual Report pdf