Nov 02, 2009 08:24AM
● By Wendy Sipple
Photo by Dante Fontana
Historically, hunger in America conjures up images of Depression-era bread lines, Dust Bowl sharecroppers and tent cities populated with society’s displaced and dispossessed.
But as the economy continues to flatline, hunger is hitting increasingly close to home, affecting familiar faces. Thankfully “home” has an ally: the Twin Lakes Food Bank.
A Folsom-based nonprofit, the Twin Lakes Food Bank – named for Lake Natoma and Folsom Lake – has for two decades fed residents of the local community and sister cities of Orangevale, Granite Bay, and El Dorado Hills, while also raising awareness for domestic hunger relief. The organization’s tagline – Neighbors Helping Neighbors – encapsulates its broader mission: “To share God’s love by uniting and mobilizing the community to provide food, clothing and support to those in need.”
Because hard times have quickly fallen on so many, the Food Bank finds itself even more burdened with its most consistent challenge – having enough food reserves to serve growing numbers of hungry citizens. “At this time we are serving 30 percent more people each month,” says Food Bank Director Kathy Boone. “There is no federal funding for this agency; it is only through the generosity of the community that we are able to [fulfill] the serious need for food in our area.”
Despite ongoing shortages, monetary, food, and sundry donations from private citizens, churches, civic groups, local businesses, and youth organizations allow the Food Bank to fund food distribution year-round, operate a complimentary clothes closet, and other special projects. Among these are a Back-to-School program that provides backpacks of school supplies to area students; Thanksgiving Turkey Baskets, 611 of which were distributed last year; food collection and children’s basket donations for Easter; and, in partnership with the Folsom Police Department, a two-fold Christmas program in which the Food Bank manages food collection (turkeys/hams and holiday trimmings), while law enforcement manages a toy collection.
There are many ways to assist the Food Bank with its mission. “People can hold food drives, or donate food individually,” Boone explains. “With more cold weather ahead, we also need coats, blankets and sleeping bags, and always more personal supplies.” Volunteers are another consistent necessity, including individuals to drive to designated local sites to pick up food and other donations. Also atop the organization’s wish list is a walk-in freezer to store increasing amounts of donated dairy products and produce.
Because Thanksgiving is synonymous with being thankful, the Food Bank has established its “Turkey on the Table” project, which asks the community to hold food drives to collect holiday trimmings to help dress otherwise empty tables. “We also need help purchasing turkeys,” Boone says. “If anyone wants to make a financial donation, $20 will put a turkey and trimmings on the table for one local family.” To make a monetary donation in support of the Food Bank’s “Turkey on the Table,” make checks payable to the Twin Lakes Food Bank, with “turkey” designated in the memo space (mail to P.O. Box 743, Folsom, CA, 95763).
For information about the organization’s other programs, volunteer opportunities or donation possibilities, visit twinlakesfoodbank.org.