Food Not Fuel for City Food Bank

Bay Area Food Banks Get Creative

By Kris Sanchez
|  Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 AM PDT
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Kris Sanchez

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Bay Area food banks are experts at stretching a dollar. Today, the San Francisco Food Bank will roll out the first of their hybrid trucks that will allow the bank to spend more money on food and less money on fuel.

The full fleet of 12 hybrid trucks will be on the road by 2014. "We will be saving $25,842 in fuel costs and that will translate into 103,000 pounds of food or 80,700 meals," said Stacy Newman of the San Francisco Food Bank.

Spending more money on food couldn't come at a better time. Summer is a double-whammy for the SF Food Bank and other banks in the Bay Area. Holiday donations are long-gone, more families need help feeding children who usually eat at school and folks who usually donate are busy.

"We're not top of mind in the summer, but need is year round," Newman said.

So, if folks are distracted and looking for fun this summer, Bay Area food banks have found a way to capitalize on that. The Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves Santa Clara and San Mateo county is setting up donation spots at the Vasona Vibrations concert series, Saturdays in July. You can make a donation and enjoy a free concert at Vasona Lake County Park on Blossom Hill Road in Los Gatos. They're also encouraging folks to "Share Their Lunch," saying that if you take the $10 you would spend on a lunch out, they'll turn it into 20 meals for family in need of help.

The Alameda County Community Food Bank is also making it fun to donate. They're partnered up with the Oakland Athletics, which means that if you bring 5 cans to one of their Wednesday games, you'll get a voucher for a future A's game. This summer the Alameda County Community Food Bank is also working to make sure people know about the 150 sites around the county where they are feeding kids who usually eat breakfast and lunch at school.

All of the Bay Area food banks are happy to take your food donations, but they really excel at stretching a dollar. Through bulk buying deals and donations from large retailers, farms and growers, they can turn a $1 donation into as much as $7 worth of food.

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