Food Bank

More than 28,000 pounds of food was collected at last year’s SMUD Giving Mondays event at the California State Fair.

Fairgoers can earn free admission to the California State Fair on July 15 and 22 if they bring food for the Elk Grove Food Bank.

This collection is a part of the SMUD’s Giving Mondays benefit at the state fair. The only rule is that a donor must bring at least three non-expired food items between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on each Monday.

Elk Grove Food Bank Executive Director Marie Jachino said that the most needed food items include canned meats (chicken or tuna) chili, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, cereal, pasta, canned fruit and veggies, Ensure, and Top Ramen.

“A single can of food, may seem like a small act, but to someone in need it can be a difference between food on the table or skipping another meal. Because hunger is a year-round problem, we continue to be awed by the tremendous support that no one goes hungry here in our local community,” Jachino said.

Because of the generosity of fairgoers, last year’s Giving Mondays collected 28,867 pounds of food for the Elk Grove Food Bank.

“Hunger doesn’t take a vacation during the summer months,” Jachino said. “This is traditionally the time of year when we experience the greatest need when children are out of school and we typically see a sharp drop in donations.”

SMUD spokesperson Lindsay Vanlaningham said they hope to surpass the nearly 30,000 pounds of food collected last year. With additional media pitching, Vanlaningham hopes to get the word out on this opportunity to give back.

All customers have to do is bring their donated items to the table in front of the state fair’s entrance and exchange their food items for a free ticket. Inside the main gate, SMUD staff will be there giving out drawstring backpacks to the first 5,000 people each day.

Separately from Giving Mondays at the fair, Vanlaningham said SMUD has a community giving campaign whereby they give to various local nonprofits and food banks.

“Employees donate their time and their money through out the year,” she said.

In expressing gratitude, Jachino said, “Elk Grove Food Bank Services would like to express deep appreciation to the California State Fair and SMUD for inviting us back again this year as a beneficiary of Giving Monday. We are extremely grateful for this partnership and to all of the fairgoers who donate.”