Monday, December 14, 2009

Responding to Community Needs

An ambulance visited the Food Bank today, but that's no cause for concern- it was delivering over 2,600 pounds of food collected through the Yolo Food Drive conducted by a team from our local American Medical Response. All weekend, an EMT and a paramedic camped out in an ambulance outside the Home Depot in West Sacramento to see how many donations they could collect. They also engaged several local fire departments to contribute, including West Sacramento, Winters, Willow Oak, Yocha Dehe, Elkhorn, and Dunnigan. Thank you to AMR and everyone who participated, and especially to Amir Shariat and Mike Denman for planning the event and braving the weather to help our neighbors in need!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Students Swipe for Hunger

Thank you to the annual UC Davis Swipe for Hunger campaign for delivering 9,102 pounds of food to the Food Bank today! Through this program, UC Davis students can donate meal swipe dollars, which Sodexho Food Service then uses to purchase food at cost to donate to the Food Bank. This year we received pallets of tuna, peanut butter, and vegetables- some of our most-needed items!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Healthy Cauliflower Recipes

As promised, here are Ryan's healthy recipes for the veggie of the month: cauliflower!

Garlic Cauliflower

2 - 3 heads of small cauliflower (or 1/2 head large)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
a couple pinches of salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
zest of one lemon
freshly grated Parmesan

To prep the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees - and by tiny, I mean most florets aren't much larger than a table grape. Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and fine grain salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula. Brown a bit more and continue to sauté until the pieces are deeply golden - all told about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds, stir in the garlic.

Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Leek Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the leeks, cauliflower, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes.

Remove the soup from heat. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or hand mixer. Season with salt and pepper, blend until smooth.

Friday, December 4, 2009

December Veggie of the Month: Cauliflower

The Moveable Market program's veggie of the month is cauliflower! Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable along with kale, cabbage, and broccoli. The Cruciferous vegetables are known for their ability to decrease your risk of certain cancers. they have two main compounds: sulforaphanes which detoxify potentially harmful substances in your liver, and indole-13-carbinol which reduces estrogen (which can lead to prostate and breast cancers when in high amounts.). In addition to these two compounds, caluiflower contains lots of vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin K, and potassium. With all of these health benefits it's a great idea to add cauliflower to your diet!

Stay tuned for more on the healthy recipes our nutritionist, Ryan, is preparing using cauliflower. In the meantime, share with us your favorite way to cook or eat cauliflower.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bring Home Holiday Cheer care of the Food Bank of Yolo County!

Stop by Nestware (204 G Street in Davis) between now and close-of-business on December 20th to bid on this beautiful tree decorated by the Food Bank's very own Valerie Dennis! The auction is part of the Davis Downtown Business Association's Downtown Charitable Holiday Tree Project, in which fifteen local non-profit organizations have tabletop holiday trees on display at retailers throughout Downtown beginning today. The trees will be sold via silent auction to the community with all proceeds benefiting the non-profit that decorated the tree. Highest bidders will be contacted on December 21 to arrange for tree pick-up and payment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

54,000 People in Yolo County Struggle to Put Food on the Table

Report finds underutilization of federal programs aimed at alleviating food insecurity, costing Yolo County a $24,025,000 loss of benefits

A recently released statewide survey conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that 2,875,000 California adults report struggling with food insecurity, the ability to obtain enough food on a regular basis. Of the households surveyed in Yolo County, 13,000 adults reported suffering from food insecurity. Using data on the surveyed households, the California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) captured an additional 41,000 people living in these households who are also likely to suffer from food insecurity.

“Food insecurity as reported by the adult head of household almost always indicates that the problem affects the rest of the household as well. It makes sense that when an adult is affected it’s likely other adults, if not the entire household, are also food insecure” says Ken Hecht, Executive Director of the CFPA. “Children may not be as vulnerable to food insecurity because parents will do their best to protect their children from these struggles—but they are not always successful”.

Food insecurity and poor nutrition are pressing problems in California. Unfortunately, one of the existing solutions, the federal Food Stamp Program, is severely underutilized. CFPA released a report today entitled Lost Dollars, Empty Plates which details estimates of lost food stamp benefits and the resulting economic impact for counties and the state. Based on these calculations the report estimates that $24,025,000 in benefits would have gone to eligible Yolo County residents if the participation rate had reached 100%. This is possible; states such as Missouri, Maine and Tennessee serve nearly all eligible households and California should implement strategies to do the same. Furthermore, the additional food stamp benefits would have generated approximately $44,000,000 in economic activity in Yolo County.

The report suggests that increasing Food Stamp Program participation will not only help Californians in need, but will also bolster economic activity; a win-win situation for all involved. “In times like these we can’t afford to let valuable federal resources go unused" says Tia Shimada, Nutrition Policy Advocate at the CFPA.

The prevalence of food insecurity indicates that the underutilization of the Food Stamp Program does not result from a lack of need. Rather, barriers to access and enrollment contribute to low participation in the Food Stamp Program. “One of many possible strategies to alleviate the occurrence of food insecurity is to focus on policy changes geared toward eliminating such barriers” says Shimada.

The report outlines solutions aimed at reducing barriers to food stamp participation, such as:
· Removing the asset test, so households don’t have to hit rock bottom before qualifying
· Providing a phone or a web based interview process to avoid burdensome trips to the food stamp office
· Joining 46 other states that do not require a finger print image to complete enrollment; and
· Reducing paperwork by converting to a semi-annual simplified reporting system

The Lost Dollars, Empty Plates report is available here.

For more information, contact Ken Hecht, 510-409-6436, or Tia Shimada. 510-407-2868,

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Food Bank of Yolo County and Einstein Education Center have partnered to host cooking classes for students to promote healthy eating. Over the course of the six-week series, students have learned how to prepare simple but nutritious meals from a variety of cultures. Ryan Gamba, the nutritionist at the Food Bank of Yolo County, uses the hands-on experience of cooking as an opportunity to encourage healthy habits outside the traditional classroom setting.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Running of the Turkeys

Thank you to everyone who participated in the inaugural Running of the Turkeys yesterday! The 3-mile run/1.5 mile walk was held at Nelson's Grove in Woodland. Special thanks to Jennean Rogers who envisioned the event and mobilized her family and community to pull it together. Thank you to the sponsors listed below and stay tuned for the grand total raised!

  • Woodland Healthcare
  • Hunter Ad Specialties
  • Yolo County YMCA
  • Joe Muller & Sons
  • Payne Brothers Ranches
  • Chamberlain Farms
  • Jose and Julia Martinez
  • Bullseye Farms
  • Ag-Seeds Unlimited
  • TSL Seed Company
  • Monday, November 16, 2009

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Healthy Turnip Recipes

    As promised, here are Ryan's healthy recipes for the veggie of the month: turnips!

    Mashed Turnatoes
    1 Large Turnip, peeled and cubed
    3 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
    ¼ cup milk
    2 tbls. unsalted butter
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    diced onions (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place turnip and potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook 25 to 30 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, and drain. Mix the milk and 2 tablespoons butter with the turnip and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Mash until slightly lumpy. Transfer turnip mixture to a small baking dish. Cover loosely, and bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
    Remove cover, and continue baking about 8 minutes, until lightly browned.

    Turnip and Carrot Soup
    2 tbsp. chopped onion
    2 tbsp butter
    2 tbsp flour
    1 qt milk
    1 c grated raw carrots
    1 c grated raw turnips
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Saute onion in butter for a few minutes. Blend in flour; add milk gradually, carrots and turnips, salt and pepper. Cook stirring frequently, until carrots and turnips are tender, about 10 minutes. Serves 4.

    Give them a try and let us know how they turn out!

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Pioneer High School Cheers Our Efforts

    Thank you to the Cheer Team at Pioneer High School for collecting money in coin banks to support the Food Bank. Their efforts raised a total of $386.53 with more to come! The issue of hunger resonated with them particularly when they counted off in fives to illustrate that one out of every five children in Yolo County lives in poverty and may be going to bed hungry. We are happy to partner with the Cheer Team at Pioneer High and all of our community partners to ensure that every child in Yolo County has enough to eat.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    November Veggie of the Month: Turnips!

    The Moveable Market program's veggie of the month is turnips! While the turnip itself is helpful in ensuring a healthy dose of fiber, the turnip green is actually the most nutritious part of the plant. Turnip greens can be prepared in similar ways to mustard greens.

    Stay tuned for more on the healthy recipes our nutritionist, Ryan, is preparing using turnips. In the meantime, share with us your favorite way to cook or eat a turnip.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Ryan the Carrot Visits Moveable Market

    Ryan the Carrot visited the Woodland Child Development Center today to promote healthy eating and the Moveable Market program. The Moveable Market is an effort by the Food Bank to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables. While at Woodland CDC, Ryan the Carrot offered samples of Butternut Squash soup, which featured the October veggie of the month: Squash!

    What is your favorite squash recipe?

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Prairie Elementary Joins in the Fight Against Hunger

    Students at Prairie Elementary School in Woodland conducted their second annual Coin Drive to benefit the Food Bank of Yolo County. Each of the 29 classes collected money in coin banks which they decorated with messages about fighting hunger and promoting nutrition. A total of $584.41 was raised, which will provide over $6,000 worth of food for those in need in Yolo County.

    Thank you to the students, teachers, and families at Prairie Elementary for your commitment to fighting hunger in our community.

    For more information on how to help, visit the Make a Difference page on our website.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Fighting Hunger Across California

    Executive Director Jose Martinez and Director of Programs Frances Johnson travelled to Oakland today for the Annual Meeting of the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB). CAFB’s role is to provide coordination and support to the 45 food banks across the state, increase the visibility of hunger and its solutions, share food resources and influence public policy. Jose and Frances enjoyed the day of connecting with fellow food bankers and hearing updates on statewide initiatives, including the Farm to Family program which connects the network of food banks with nutritious, local produce.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Champions for Change

    Today our nutritionist, Ryan Gamba, spoke at the regional HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) conference. The mission of HEAL is to improve the health of children, families, and individuals within the Gold Country Region through education, policies, and environments that promote physical activity, nutrition, and access to healthy foods. Ryan was also recognized as a Champion for Change for his work increasing access to healthy food through the Food Bank’s Moveable Market program. Ryan had also nominated several of our community partners for the award including: Jie Dong from The Greenery Housing Apartments and Oralia Rodriguez of RISE Inc. in Esparto.

    Who would you nominate as a Champion for Change?

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Local CAN Make a Difference

    This weekend concluded the “Local CAN make a Difference” food drive hosted by Yolo Federal Credit Union. A total of 6,433 pounds were collected from Yolo FCU members, staff, and community partners. However before the food was donated, Yolo FCU staff competed to build structures with the donated items. Designs ranged from a grocery cart and bag of food to a tiered cake and the American flag!

    Thank you to the participating community and business partners including:
    LPL Financial Services
    Nick’s Diner- West Sacramento
    Silvina’s Basket
    Sacramento Latino Group
    Pacific Coast Producers
    Health Education Council
    Grocery Outlet
    Bayside Church- Woodland
    Food 4 Less

    And special thank you to the team at Yolo Federal Credit Union for your hard work and generosity!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    The Food Stamp Challenge

    Thank you for your interest in our virtual fund raiser. Use this blog page, and chect it frequently to stay current with what is going on with the event participants. We encourage you to actively comment on your experience as you go through this challenge. We think the experience will do three things: First, gives you first hand experience with what it is like trying to feed yourself for about $4 a day; Second, it allows you to be part of the solution in helping out the less fortunate; Third, you raise awareness about hunger and malnutrition in the community; and Fourth, you raise some money to help the Food Bank in its mission to alleviate hunger and malnutrition. Thank you for participating and for your generous and charitable involvement. To read or post comments, click here.
    ~ José Martinez, Food Bank Executive Director.

    Monday, April 13, 2009


    Welcome to the Food Bank of Yolo County’s Blog.

    Our Mission: To alleviate hunger and malnutrition in Yolo County.

    Founded and incorporated in 1971, the Food Bank of Yolo County in Northern California has grown from a backyard gleaning program providing a few thousand pounds of food a year, to an organization staffed by 10 full-time and part-time employees and hundreds of volunteers that distributes millions of pounds of food annually.

    Visit our website at

    We look forward to hearing from you.