Thursday, May 13, 2010

Santa Barbara Food Bank

Today I took a trip up the coast to visit the Santa Barbara Food Bank. I was very interested in this opportunity to tour the facility. Since I grew up at times without food I was anxious to learn about the distribution process and how the food bank works as a whole. The warehouse itself is much like a CostCo or Sams Club. Different organizations can come in and purchase the bulk food items for next to nothing. This particular facility runs several different programs. One of which is a senior "Brown Bag" program. In which every two weeks brown bags are packed with items from the food bank and are hand delivered to the seniors in the community. Another program is the "Backpack" Program, where bags of food are distributed to children on Fridays after school so that they have food for the weekend.

I had the honor of meeting Erik Talkin the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Food Share. I was given the opportunity to sit down with him and share my stories of being without food at such a young age. We talked about the effects of not having a good nutritional understanding of foods in general and the effects it has had on me today. My obsession with hording when I finally was able to get food easily, and my not so smart decisions on my food choices still today. It's amazing what the first five years of a child's life does for them. The correlation to many things in our future are based upon what we have been taught at a young age. I am very glad to see that nutrition education is playing a role in the Santa Barbara Food Share's programs, especially those concerning the children.

I had a really nice conversation with Carrie Wanek, Director of Finance and Administration for the Food Bank. I got the opportunity to pick her brain about the ins and outs of running such a vital organization. She was very personable and informative and I learned a lot from her.

After our meeting was over I was so lucky to have the opportunity to meet the volunteers of the "Backpack" program and help in the assembly line. I am so happy that a program such as this exists, because I know first hand what it was like to be hungry without a meal and wondering when your stomach would stop growling. I want to thank all those individuals who are involved with this organization, your hearts are golden and you are making a difference that is greatly appreciated. You all are amazing!

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