As a result of a two-day canned food drive at the California State Fair, the Elk Grove Food Bank has an additional 30,000 pounds of food on its shelves.
The drive allowed fair guests to enter the fairgrounds for free on July 15 and 22 in exchange for three cans of non-expired, non-perishable food. This promotion is called “Giving Monday.”
Marie Jachino, executive director of this local food bank, said that the arrival of the fair donations were very timely.
“It’s kind of a difficult time of the year for food donations,” she said. “The kids are out for summer, so they’re not getting their reduced breakfasts or lunches at school. So, the food from the food bank kind of replaces those meals.
“So, we see an increase (in the need for food) with children in the summer months. Our numbers go up.”
During the drive, the greatest amount of donations was received on the second Monday, when the food bank received 20,000 pounds of food. An additional 10,000 pounds were collected on the first Monday.
This is the second collaboraition between the food bank and the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) in collecting food at the state fair.
Jachino noted that this year’s drive was more successful than last year’s drive, which resulted in the donation of 27,000 pounds of food for the food bank in two days.
She added that although this increase is much welcomed, the food bank did not set a goal for this year’s drive.
“We always hope to increase, but we never really set goals, because we’re just thankful to get donations, especially this particular time of the year,” she said.
Many staff and volunteer hours were involved in assisting with the food drive.
On the second day of the drive, work began to relocate the cans to the food bank on Dino Drive, Jachino noted.
“The manpower in volunteers that it took to have that be successful was a lot of work,” she said. “Our staff made four trips out there, back and forth to pick up the food. They started at 9 o’clock in the morning and did not finish until 9 that night. And some of the volunteers were out there until 7:30 (p.m.).”
To transport the food, the food bank used two large trucks, one of which includes a lift gate.
Jachino mentioned that the food bank mainly used social media outlets to spread the word about the food drive. But she added that the State Fair, SMUD, and the Citizen were also helpful.
The executive director added that there is a misconception regarding the recent news that the food bank will receive $4 million from the state. She stressed that it is solely to be used for a new facility, and not for other uses such as to pay for operational and administrative costs.
“Even though people call us millionaires now, that money can only be used for a facility,” Jachino said.
As a result, the food bank’s need for food donations remain the same.
Jachino expressed appreciation for the donations made at this year’s State Fair.
“It was very generous, and for the most part, all the food was (useable),” she said. “Not a lot of it was outdated. It was just very generous of the fairgoers.”