Showing posts with label community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hunger in the UK

A few months ago, we were lucky enough to be visited by Margaret Rooney, who lives in London, England. Margaret volunteers at her local food bank, the Islington Foodbank, part of the The Trussell Trust, which serves the UK and Bulgaria. 

Storage area of Islington Foodbank
According to The Trussell Trust, nearly 13 million people in the UK live below the poverty line. Islington Foodbank serves several hundred people annually and hopes to continue growing.

Some food boxes ready for distribution



To learn more about The Trussell Trust and the work they're doing in the UK and Bulgaria, please visit: www.trusselltrust.org



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Food Stamp Challenge, Day 4

Stayed in my Capitol Office until nearly 9 p.m. last night to finish up an Op Ed  and read additional materials and budget impact information coming in from many constituency groups in my district.  I had not packed dinner so was pretty hungry by that time.  To make matters even more interesting, one of our departing  interns had graciously stopped by earlier in the day to drop off some delicious, homemade baklava (I know because she's been treating us to her desserts for the past three years).  Alone in my office with a plate of delectable sweets (and those of you who really know me understand where dessert ranks in my food pyramid!), I was sorely tempted to sneak one.  However, as my NAPAWF sisters taking the challenge this year with me know, one of the rules of the Hunger Challenge is no "free food".  So, I brought my "share" of the treats home to my husband.

Experiencing this reminds me that food commercials frequently blare at us on TV, and we are surrounded by plenty in the Capitol community.  For those whose access to food is restricted by income, transportation, and physical health, watching those food advertisements towards the end of the month when benefits dry up must be similarly challenging.

On my way home, I spent $1.93 on a zucchini which I added to my baked chicken and tofu dinner and a single serving package of ground coffee--Double Dutch Chocolate.  I am going to treat myself to a cuppa joe at the end of Friday when we are expected to vote for another ugly California budget.

Look for my final 2012 installment tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Food Stamp Challenge, Day 3

Photo Source
Long day Tuesday, but made it home and prepared "corn cakes" with fresh banana, and made a meal out of more chicken and sliced cucumbers.

During Democratic Caucus yesterday noon, a colleague said he would have joined me but did not have access to a kitchen.  I didn't say anything to him, but want to note here that thousands of CalFresh recipients are in the same boat.  That's why the CalFresh Restaurant Meals program is so important:  http://www.ebtproject.ca.gov/restaurantmeals.aspx.  Although this program is open only to the homeless, elderly, and disabled (although those on SSI are not eligible for SNAP because the benefit amount is "cashed-out" in the monthly grant--we can argue about that another time!), it is another avenue for the hungry among us.

With the heat rising outside, I have been drinking only filtered tap water and coconut milk (which I confess is not a favorite but I put it in my grocery cart because I had a 75 cents off coupon).  Wednesday is food ad day, so I will check the sales and see if I can afford a can of frozen orange juice with my $2.25 in reserve.  Will attend Legislative Women's Caucus "brown bag" luncheon with my real brown bag lunch of a tuna salad sandwich and grapes.  The impending budget vote will affect women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor disproportionately...it saddens me to know that tobacco companies can spend $50M to defeat one ballot measure while millions of Californians are suffering daily from hunger pangs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Food Stamp Challenge, Day 2

Asm. Yamada's food purchases for the week
Some may question the wisdom of taking on the Hunger Challenge this week, in the difficult run-up to Friday, June 15 constitutional budget deadline.  For those battling hunger, this is the perfect week to highlight that hunger doesn't take a break.

Monday's meals were raisin bran and coconut milk for breakfast; yogurt and banana for lunch; egg salad sandwich, grapes, and a chicken drumstick for dinner.  Am drinking filtered tap water as I did not find a good deal on coffee this year.  I already warned my staff (smile).

With summer vacation, many children who rely upon the free or reduced lunch program during the school year find themselves without basic sustenance.  See http://frac.org/pdf/summer_report_2010.pdf for more information on this important nutrition program.

Tuesday is a difficult day, with committee hearings, Democratic Caucus where I will eat my chicken sandwich and grapes while my colleagues eat our usual nice catered lunch (which the legislators--not the taxpayers--pay for), followed by bill presentations in Senate Human Services and Senate Veterans Affairs.

Additional briefings with staff will be followed by a quick dash to Woodland to attend the Yolo County Farm Bureau meeting recognizing the Future Farmers of America.  A perfect group to end the day with since we are focusing, after all, on food.

More Wednesday.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November's Volunteer of the Month


By a unanimous vote amoung Food Bank of Yolo County (FBYC) staff, this month's featured volunteer is Misty O'Donnell. Though quiet, she has made a big impression at the FBYC. Her “can-do” attitude and friendly demeanor are a pleasure to be around.

Misty first heard about FBYC through the Work Experience Program (WEX). Through this program, individuals are matched up with local organizations to build their job skills.

Misty has been with the FBYC for about a month and a half and continues to be a great asset. She makes sure the warehouse is clean and organized, and she is taking on more responsibility by learning how to take inventory. She enjoys “being able to help the community” and says that “the staff is always so kind”.

When she is not working at FBYC, Misty enjoys spending time with her children.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Fried Sage, and Pine Nuts

Photo source
This is a repeat of a recipe I posted last year.  I made it again this week and it is as delicious as I remembered.  It is a bit labor-intensive but well worth the effort.  One hint: I cut the squash into quarters and eighths which made peeling it a lot easier. If you don't have a pan large enough for the final steps of the recipe, you can split it in half.  The pasta should 'pan-fry', not steam.  PS: Toast the pine nuts first!
Cleo, Food Bank volunteer



Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 pound farfalle pasta
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup total)

Directions:
Heat the oven to 375°.
Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds the middle cavity. Flip the squash halves upside down and peel them. (Note: The raw squash rind can irritate your hands. If they start to itch or tingle, wear gloves.) Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.
Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash.
Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.
Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook the farfalle until al dente. Drain and set aside.
As the squash finishes roasting, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan. The oil is ready when it pops and sputters. (Don't let it start smoking.) Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up.
Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon.
Add half the pasta to the pan, along with half the roasted squash mixture. Crumble in half the sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in half the cheese and serve.

Serves 4

Recipe source

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September's Volunteer of the Month: Bich Mai Toups

Easily one of our most energetic volunteers, Bich Mai Toups started volunteering with the Food Bank of Yolo County (FBYC) in October of 2010 and has “enjoyed every moment”. She is a pleasure to work with and is always eager to help with duties ranging from making copies, to helping with a food distribution, to tabling at an event. Throughout the year, FBYC staff rely on Bich as our “go to” volunteer because of her positive attitude and willingness to help wherever needed.

It was Bich’s husband who introduced her to the idea of volunteering with FBYC. As a stay at home mother of three school-aged children, she found herself with time to spare during the week. Bich explained that her favorite part of volunteering with “learning about the different aspects of FBYC, such as the Moveable Market, CalFresh, and other general office duties”.

Volunteering has meant a lot to Bich. She feels great when she leaves and enjoys working with staff and other volunteers. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization and is happy to spend some of her spare time giving back to the community.

Some of Bich’s hobbies include: swimming, lifting weights, reading health-related magazines, and spending time with her family.


Thank you for all of your hard work, Bich!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August's Volunteers of the Month: Melanie Goddard and Katherine Laumas

From left: Katherine, Melanie
 For the month of August, we want to give thank two awesome warehouse sorting volunteers, Melanie Goddard and Katherine Laumas. Both ladies have shown dedication to the Food Bank of Yolo County (FBYC) by coming weekly—rain or shine—to help sort food for our variety boxes, which are part of our Rural Food Delivery (RFD) Program. Without the work of exceptional volunteers like Melanie and Katherine, it would be impossible for us to distribute food to the communities and individuals that benefit from the program.

With us since August 2009, Melanie first heard about the Food Bank from her cousin, who is our former grant writer. As a retiree with extra time on her hands, she thought it sounded like a wonderful program with which to volunteer.

When asked about her favorite part of volunteering with FBYC, Melanie said, “I love meeting other volunteers, but I especially love the satisfaction of packing boxes of food and thinking of the meals that will be created...”. She also went on to say, “Volunteering is a satisfying, productive way to use my time to help others”.

Besides volunteering, Melanie’s interests include: traveling with her husband, attending Giants and Rivercats games, kayaking, reading, gardening, and enjoying wine, art, and music.

Katherine, who often works on Tuesday’s with Melanie, has been a volunteer since December of 2010. Though she is a busy student, she thought the Food Bank would be a great place to volunteer because of her passion for food and cooking.

As a volunteer, Katherine appreciates the atmosphere at FBYC, friendly staff and volunteers, and low key vibe that makes her work enjoyable. She said, “When I go home on Tuesdays, I feel like I did something meaningful. It’s a wonderful feeling. Just a little work goes a long way”.

When not volunteering or studying, Katherine enjoys doing Bikram yoga and spending time with her beagle, Emma.

A huge thank you to both Melanie and Katherine for all of your hard work!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July's Volunteer of the Month: Jerrell "Jerry" Johnson

7/5/11: 650 pounds picked up in one car load!
What do you get when you mix a person with a big heart and 36 years of volunteer service? Jerry, of course! Several times a week for nearly 4 decades, he has helped by picking up donations at local grocery stores and delivering them to the Food Bank.  

A memorable story for Jerry is when he once loaded over 600 pounds of food into his car, filling up 27 banana boxes once he arrived at the Food Bank with the donation. He remembers staring at his small car and the huge stack of boxes in disbelief.

Jerry first heard about the Food Bank of Yolo County from his friend, Dorothy Laben (one of the founders of the Food Bank), who he volunteered with at a food closet in Davis. He enjoys the opportunities he’s had to “meet with people who are interested in feeding the hungry” and says that volunteering means he can “still be a valuable member of society” and help people in need.
 
When not volunteering with us, Jerry enjoys reading, hiking, camping, and teaching an adult literacy class.

Thank you, Jerry, for all of your hard work and dedication to the Food Bank throughout the years!




Monday, June 13, 2011

June's Volunteers of the Month: Tuesday Distribution Volunteers

A huge shout out goes to Sheriane, Karen, Doug, Ellen, Betty, And Barb! These volunteers help with a food distrubution that takes place every Tuesday morning at the Woodland Senior & Community Center.

We see Sheriane, Karen, Doug, and Ellen on Monday mornings to prepare bags of fresh produce to hand out. On Tuesdays, Sheriane has the help of Betty and Barb to distribute the food.


Thank you for all of your hard work!



Friday, June 10, 2011

Hunger Challenge: Final Report

Am sending this blog post from my Vacaville District Office.  Today, my 5th and final day of the 2011 Hunger Challenge, required additional planning because it is a “6-city hop”—leaving Davis to go to Fairfield this morning to speak at a local elementary school, then to Vacaville, to Woodland, back to Davis and then to Sacramento.  On a day like today, where to store my modest meals can become a challenge.  Fortunately, I was able to stash my lunch in our district office refrigerator before heading further west to my first appointment. 

In a few minutes, I will be heading to Woodland to host a volunteer recognition event for our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, where we will serve my favorite food—Mexican!  However, I will not partake but wait until I get home to Davis for a final meal before heading to the airport to visit my daughter in San Diego. 

I asked the elementary school food service workers if they would be participating in the summer nutrition program, and they said, “Yes!”.  As the saying goes, “Hunger doesn’t go on vacation.”  I am glad to know that children will continue to get the basic nutrition they need over the summer months, at least in Fairfield. 

As my 2011 Hunger Challenge comes to a close, I hope that my participation has in a small way raised awareness and sparked conversations among my colleagues and those who may not think about the serious issue of hunger in California.  In the richest, most powerful nation in the world, to know that 1 in 6  Californians do not know where there next meal is coming from is not only a tragedy—it’s a disgrace.

I look forward to 2012, when I will again participate in a hunger challenge—because intellectualizing about hunger is not as powerful as experiencing it.

Hunger Challenge: Day 5

Thursday

Planned ahead to brew coffee last night, setting the pot up so I could just hit the “on” button this morning.  What’s important to note is that the cost of coffee filters, and even the electricity and water necessary to brew my most important beverage isn’t calculated into the weekly challenge.

For lunch today, I made a tuna sandwich from leftover salad from Wednesday night’s dinner, and decided to stretch my remaining cup of yogurt and one banana into two portions to last for two days, so  I will have a blueberry-banana yogurt for today and Friday.

We have received interesting news coverage over the course of the week. A popular Davis Enterprise columnist has written about the challenge for the past two years; he believes that by shopping at Costco, with the average monthly maximum benefit for a family of six ($952) in Yolo County, his food dollars could be stretched.  The good news is that Costco now does accept EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer); the not-as-good-news for low-income families is that a Costco annual membership is $45.  Further, the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities face barriers to transportation, and are less likely to be able to negotiate the bulk-size commodities that Costco sells.  However, if a “food shopping club” could be organized, something that I helped put together years ago for a group of seniors living in one apartment complex, the benefits of cooperative purchasing could actually help.

Our local columnist also suggests that he would spend his $4.44 on dollar cheeseburgers.  If he accepted my challenge, how he chooses to spend his benefit would be entirely up to him.  But choosing the fast food option highlights one of the main issues with food assistance—that fresh and healthy food choices are largely out-of-reach for low-income individuals and they often have poorer health outcomes as a result.

Haven’t thought ahead to dinner tonight, as I will be spending time at a Sacramento phone bank in support of a 2011 state budget that includes a revenue extension. 

Friday, I will be visiting an elementary school in Fairfield, responding to several 5th and 6th graders who wrote to our office about the cuts to education.  These students will soon be on summer vacation; those who rely upon free- or reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year may also have access to a summer nutrition program:  http://frac.org/pdf/summer_2011/summer_report_2011_ca.pdf

Final thoughts coming tomorrow.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hunger Challenge: Day 4

Last night’s meal of stir-fried turkey with black beans and green beans over noodles was a combination borne out of “ingredient necessity”.  Not the tastiest, but filling.

Today is Wednesday and I am “mid-week” with the Hunger Challenge.  I am pleased to learn that there is a staffer in the building who has also joined me for today.  I invited her to send her thoughts to the blog.

During a noon-talk that I gave to the Executive Fellows, several were incredulous that I was participating in this activity, asking me, “How do you do that?” (live on $4.44 a day for food).  I replied that this brief exercise required planning, budgeting, and restraint, and that 2.5 million Californians are facing this every day.

Having left home in a rush this morning, I microwaved leftover coffee from Tuesday and filled my thermos about a third-full.  I grabbed a whole banana, a yogurt (only one remaining from the 4-pk), and a slice of 12-grain bread.  After a full day phone calls, events, presentations, speeches, and preparations for next week’s Senate committee hearings, I do feel hungry and am thinking ahead as to what I will put together for dinner tonight.  Perhaps my can of chicken corn chowder, a lettuce and tomato salad, and toast is on the evening horizon.  I couldn’t imagine if, after a long and exhausting day like this one, I would then have to travel long distances to obtain any fresh food to prepare for a meal, as many who live in “food deserts” across the state must do every day or week.  A few bills in the Legislature address this issue, including  Speaker Perez’s AB 581 which creates the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative to help expand access to healthy foods in underserved communities.  Through our work in the Legislature, I hope we can minimize the burden on these communities with limited nutritious food options.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hunger Challenge: Day 3

When I returned from the single-payer, universal healthcare forum in Woodland about 10 p.m. on Monday evening, I was feeling a little hungry.   I had last eaten about 4 p.m. (a turkey-burger with lettuce and tomato).  I decided to make a package of ramen noodles, adding a handful of fresh green beans and about a quarter of the tofu block.  I used very little of the high-sodium content seasoning packet (not healthy). 

Looking through my mail, I noticed a number of fast-food ads for chicken and pizza, hamburgers and burritos.  On a $4.44 daily budget, chicken and pizza were not an option; hamburgers and burritos were somewhat more affordable, but if I had chosen to do a “fast food day”, such a purchase would have only covered one or two of my daily meals.  As I settled into my home office chair, I noticed the number of online ads from restaurants whose menu items were out-of-reach.  What occurred to me is that food ads are all around, but for millions of Californians, going out to eat is unaffordable.

Tuesday – Caucus Day

I skipped breakfast, as I customarily do, and drank half-a-thermos of home-brewed coffee this morning.

Tuesdays at noon, the Members of the Legislature gather for their respective weekly noon caucuses, at which lunch is provided (again, Members pay a monthly fee for this privilege).  This is my third year participating in the Food Stamp Challenge as a state legislator, but still taking one’s modest lunch into caucus requires some humor.  News of the 2011 Hunger Challenge had published in what is known as the “Capitol Morning Report”, a must-read subscription news compilation of all that’s happening in and outside the Capitol, so news of my challenge had “filtered out”.

A few members asked me, “How are you doing?”   One committed to joining me next year.  What I brought for lunch was a half-turkey sandwich, lettuce and tomato salad, and a blueberry yogurt.  As a confirmed dessert-fiend, I looked longingly at the trays of rich brownie treats that was put out for the members, but remained disciplined and did not succumb to the sugary temptation!

After an afternoon of meetings, media interviews, and review and editing of various letters and bill communications, I will be heading to an evening reception at which there will once again be an abundance of food.  I will pay my respects and then leave for home and prepare a stir-fry turkey dish with black beans and noodles.

More Wednesday! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hunger Challenge Day 2

Sunday evening, I divided the 1-lb ground turkey into thirds.  I stir-fried 2/3rds and with the remaining 1/3, added the ends of my bread loaf as filler and cooked three turkey-burger patties.

Monday morning, I brewed a pot of coffee, filling a thermos to bring with me to work, rather than going to the Member’s Lounge where coffee is always available (Members do pay a monthly fee for this privilege).  For today’s lunch, I brought a half-banana and a yogurt; for dinner before attending a speaking engagement on single-payer universal healthcare in Woodland, I will have a turkey-burger on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato.

With last Thursday’s release of the new USDA “ChooseMyPlate.gov”, I have tried to balance the food I have available with my day’s activities (Capitol visit  with local elementary school children, Floor Session, and an evening speaking engagement).  However, I do not think I reached 50% fresh fruits and vegetables today.

We have Assembly floor session today (Monday).  I will be seeing my Hunger Challenge-mate, Assemblymember Jim Beall, Jr., on the Floor in a few minutes, and will see how he is faring on Day 1.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Assemblymember Yamada Blogs About the Food Stamp Challenge

We are pleased to announce that this year Assemblymember Mariko Yamada will once again participate in the Food Stamp Challenge, spending the next 5 days eating on the average allotment received by a CalFresh recipient (the new name in California for Food Stamps). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture which administers the program, the average weekly food stamp benefit is $22 - that's $4.43 per day, or just $1.48 per meal. We welcome you to follow her progress here, share your thoughts, take up the challenge yourself, or learn more about taking action in the fight against hunger by visiting our website, www.foodbankyc.org.

Day 1:

After speaking at Davis Community Meals 3rd Annual "Hand in Hand" Fundraiser, I went to my local Safeway armed with the grocery ads and a calculator.

Here is what I bought for this year's Hunger Challenge:

1 pound ground turkey - 3.99 (50% discount due to expiration date today)
1 extra firm Tofu Lite -1.99
1 can chicken corn chowder soup - 1.29
1 can black beans - .79
1 can tuna - .99
1 4pk yogurt - 1.49
1 6pk Top Ramen - .89
1 loaf 12-grain bread - 2.49
1 red leaf lettuce - .79
3 bananas - .62
2 tomatoes - .52
1 pk fresh green beans - 2.00
1 can organic coffee - 3.49

13 items total = $21.34

What is different from previous years is that I found in-store coupon deals through which I could afford COFFEE.  Since this is my beverage of choice, and practically one of my five basic food groups, the week ahead should be a little easier for everyone around me.

Going to cook the ground turkey now because it expires tonight.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Volunteers of the Month: Lamar and Sal


From left: Sal, Lamar
This month, we decided to highlight two awesome volunteers who came to us through Cache Creek Lodge, a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Woodland. Though they are not required to perform community service in order to remain in the program, both Lamar and Sal come as often as they can and have been tremendously helpful as warehouse volunteers.

Both Lamar and Sal were nominated by Roger, our Warehouse Manager, for their exceptional help. They are both extremely hard working, ready and willing to tackle volunteer assignments, have great attitudes, and are very courteous to those around them. Roger has only great things to say about both Lamar and Sal, who have given us over 30 hours of volunteer time each.

Lamar, who is originally from Sacramento, loves to play basketball and keep himself busy. When asked why he decided to volunteer at the Food Bank, he told us it’s because he likes to be productive and enjoys helping others. Though he was very shy at first, he impressed Roger with his “take charge” attitude and has been a pleasure to get to know.

Sal, who is the more outgoing of the two, is from West Sacramento. He also likes to give back to our community by volunteering at the Food Bank. He enjoys the work environment and knowing that at the end of a shift he has done something to help another person out. Sal enjoys all types of art, drawing, and tattooing. Very polite and friendly, Sal has also been a great addition to our volunteer team.

Thank you Lamar and Sal, from Roger and everyone at the Food Bank of Yolo County!

Monday, March 14, 2011

National Ag Day: Agriculture is Amazing

Photo Source
Here in Yolo County, we are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by agriculture (607,232 acres) in all directions. In honor of National Ag Day, we are tipping our hats to those in our community who grow our food and raise livestock—their jobs are essential components of our history and economy.

Ever heard the expression, “Hug a farmer”? National Ag Day pays homage to the men and women who work hard to enable that food is ultimately available for our plates and to remind us that agriculture is a part of our lives.

Photo Source
Though National Ag Day is a celebration of abundance, we are also reminded of our neighbors who are unable to join in the benefits that many of us are accustomed to. This is why we at the Food Bank of Yolo County are grateful to the local farmers who donate some of their products including eggs, rice, and produce. We also receive produce donations from Yolo County residents who contact local gleaning organizations to pick fruit or vegetables from their yards.

Thank you to all of our local farmers and everyone involved in getting food to our tables.


Learn more about agriculture in Yolo County.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March's Volunteer of the Month: Cleo Opera




We can’t always count on the weather, but we can always count on Cleo, our Friday morning receptionist. Since August of 2009, she has been a crucial member of our volunteer team. Cleo provides a warm and welcoming environment for those who call or stop by the Food Bank of Yolo County.

Cleo first heard about our volunteer opportunities while she was shopping at the Davis Farmers Market. She noticed that the Food Bank had a table full of information about our programs including gleaning, which she was particularly interested in because of a fruitful orange tree in her yard. Unfortunately, Cleo had been laid off that year, but she decided to keep herself busy by donating her time to the Food Bank.

When asked what her favorite part of volunteering with the Food Bank is, Cleo said with a smile, “Being here.” She elaborated that she loves working with our staff, volunteers, and clients, and that she feels like everyone appreciates her. Volunteering is important to Cleo because it allows her to be resourceful, give advice, and be helpful to those in need. As someone who is always eager to take the next step, Cleo explained that she has enjoyed taking on new responsibilities and that she has really grown with her volunteer position. One of Cleo’s recent assignments has been to research and post recipes including our Veggie of the Month on our blog. This has allowed her to merge her love of research and cooking, as she frequently tests out the recipes at home and later posts feedback. Cleo has mastered the art of being a receptionist, and hopes to continue learning more about blogging and computers.

At a very young 68 years old, Cleo doesn’t consider herself retired, rather “independent.” When she’s not with us, she’s volunteering with the Davis Food Co-op or the Yolo Hospice Thrift Store. Cleo likes to garden, is a very creative person, and has been a vegetarian for over 40 years. Cleo has a goal of one day owning her own business, incorporating her fondness of textiles and paper. A mother of two and grandmother of three, Cleo is also writing her life story which she hopes will inform future generations of her family.

Thank you Cleo for all of your hard work!




Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February's Volunteer of the Month: John Schneider



Take a walk back to the warehouse on Tuesdays and Fridays, and you’ll likely see the smiling face of this month’s featured volunteer, John Schneider. Since the fall of 2009, John has brought a ton of energy, knowledge, and a positive attitude to his volunteer position at the Food Bank of Yolo County.

John first became a volunteer with us after he picked up food from the Food Bank with a partner agency. He met our Volunteer Coordinator and has been with us ever since. When asked what his favorite part of volunteering with the Food Bank is, John told us he enjoys the opportunity to network with others, the friendly atmosphere, working with a diverse group of people, and being appreciated for his time. Thanks to John’s bicycle repair skills, our Moveable Market program has been able to give away numerous bikes at sites throughout Yolo County.

Volunteering means a lot to John. Some of his desire to help others comes from his time serving in the Army as a medic, and also from his time studying Buddhism, as he believes we are all interconnected. John has previously volunteered with organizations like Meals on Wheels and CASA.

A retired resident of Woodland, John spent much of his career with various school districts as an elementary school teacher and administrator. Originally from Los Angeles, he has also lived in Ohio, Colorado, and Washington before returning to California. Married with three daughters and four grandchildren, John enjoys painting and gardening whenever he can find the time.

Thank you John for all of your hard work!