Monthly Archives: June 2014

Statewide Drought Impacts Food Bank Programs

Santa Barbara Community Foundation

Food distribution agencies are experiencing reduced supplies of fresh produce as a result of the statewide drought.

According to the United States Drought Monitor, Santa Barbara County entered a category D-4 Exceptional Drought in February this year. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is already experiencing the effects of the projected three-year drought in reduced supplies of fresh produce from other counties as well as increasing pressure on the county’s own exports.

“Droughts have long-term implications,” said Erik Talkin, chief executive officer of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “We are in the first year of this drought, and we are really looking at two years where it is probably going to get worse before it gets better.”

The Foodbank currently serves 100,000 individuals each year, from preschoolers to seniors. As a result of the drought, the Foodbank estimates that it will spend an extra $100,000 per year on fresh produce. Several foundations are stepping up to help offset these costs. The Santa Barbara Foundation recently provided the Foodbank with a $5,000 emergency grant to purchase staple items not grown in the county, such as onions and sweet potatoes.

Along with its 330 member agencies, the Foodbank distributes more than 4.5 million pounds of fresh produce each year. Approximately one million pounds of that produce comes from Santa Barbara County, while the other 3.5 million pounds comes from other counties in California.

“Produce is no longer just a local issue,” said Erik. “We want to enjoy a balanced variety of produce and to do that, we have to source produce from other counties. Otherwise, we would be eating a narrow diet of broccoli, lettuce, and strawberries.”

One way the Foodbank ensures ongoing distribution of a variety of produce is by collaborating with other food banks within the California Association of Food Banks. The Farm to Family program helps food banks purchase seconds crops – crops that a grower cannot necessarily sell through a store because they are not large or beautiful enough. The food banks pay growers a reduced fee to harvest the crops for distribution.

“It is a very efficient system, but it relies on the product being available,” said Erik. “In a drought situation, product that was not selling before is now selling because there is less product around. That means there is less product to sell to food banks, and we have to pay higher prices.”

Access to fresh produce is critical to the Foodbank’s mission. Recognizing that poor eating habits increase the likelihood of diabetes, obesity, and some cancers, the Foodbank is committed to providing healthy resources for low-income communities and encourages donations of fruits and vegetables rather than canned goods.

“When people help us with money, we are able to turn every dollar into 17 dollars worth of distributed food through co-purchasing with other food banks and getting as much donated food as possible,” said Erik. “We are also encouraging people to donate fresh produce to us. Both of our facilities in Goleta and Santa Maria are equipped to accept donations of fresh produce from individual people. A couple weeks ago, we had someone bring us 10 lettuces. He had grown a row for himself and one for the food bank. That is a really effective way of helping.”

To learn more about supporting the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, please visit or call (805) 967-5741.


Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Kicks off nutritional program


By KSBY Staff
updated 6/13/2014 12:17:05 PM

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County kicked off one of its nutritional programs Thursday that’s aimed at kids.

It’s called Picnic in the Park.

About 300 kids enjoyed a healthy lunch Thursday at Grogan Park in Santa Maria.

The program provides nutritious lunches and physical activities throughout summer when kids are out of school.

“Picnic in the park is one example of how we are working with the community to make sure that children are not hungry and families are being served,” says Bonnie Campbell with the Foodbank.

The Foodbank expects to provide 38,000 meals to 2,000 kids this summer.


John Herzog trains youth triathletes raising money for Foodbank

June 13, 2014 by Christina Markos 0 Comments

Volunteer of the Month John Herzog with Kids4Foodbank team-founder Jacob Mansbach.
Thanks to volunteer coach John Herzog, the Kids4Foodbank Triathlon Team will be well-prepared for this summer’s Santa Barbara Triathlon.

The youth triathlon team is getting training tips from the Ironman athlete to help with their effort of raising money for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Herzog, a member of the Santa Barbara Triathlon Club,   fully supports the team’s efforts. He is someone who truly believes and knows from his experience that people really can accomplish any goal they set for themselves. He believes that the minute one decides to replace the “I can’t” with “I can”, it truly changes one’s life and can become a catalyst on the path to empowerment, realizing one’s true capabilities and finding their inner drive and confidence.

Herzog initially became involved in triathlons when he was working at the Santa Barbara Athletic Club and Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club as Director of Sales. Being a sponsor of the Santa Barbara Triathlon, the club received five free entries, and Herzog was challenged to compete.

There was only one problem — he didn’t know how to swim one length in a pool without having to rest. He decided to replace “I can’t” with “I can”.

While running track in high school, Herzog was a sprinter and never thought he could be an endurance athlete. But he began to take swim lessons at the athletic club, he borrowed a bike from a friend and tackled the challenges that had always prevented him from endurance athletics. He had bad lower leg pain and decided to discuss it with a trainer at the club. The trainer made one minor tweak and it changed everything. He was able to continue training and completed the race. After completing the race, Herzog was fired up and hooked.

“What an amazing experience, so many new things opened up for me,” he remembers.

Herzog immediately signed up and began training for the next local race, the Carpinteria Triathlon. He then went on to complete several Olympic distance races and three half-Ironman races before deciding to compete in first Ironman. His first Ironman was in Tempe, Arizona and he did so well he decided to do another Ironman in Canada.

Some of his favorite parts of training were: honoring his commitment to his word, the transformative nature of the sport, and the number of beautiful sunrises he witnessed on those days that he started his bike rides and runs in the dark hours of the morning.

“When training and waking up so early, you are tired. Your body is tired, and the drive is intermittent and fluctuates. Nine times out of ten, it comes down to the commitment to honor your word. When you commit to something it is a sacred moment. You don’t know how you are going to get there and transform along the way.” He relates, “They say a rising tide raises all boats. One great thing about the structure and the integrity of training, is how it affects the other areas of your life. It’s amazing what happens when you ‘just do it’.”

With his background and training knowledge, he is very excited and honored to be the Kids4Foodbank Triathlon Team Coach. Herzog was competing in the Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint event in 2011 when he met Jacob for the first time. Jacob and his father, Mike Mansbach were participating in the parent-child event of the Santa Barbara Triathlon. Herzog, who worked with the elder Mansbach, overheard Jacob and his dad chatting about Jacob wanting to finish the triathlon and then play in the sand. He was struck by Jacob’s energy and spirit. Jacob has gone on to compete in 10 triathlons to date and in many of them, Herzog has been there to cheer Jacob on after finishing his own event.

In 2012, the Santa Barbara Triathlon partnered with the Foodbank as a fundraising beneficiary. Jacob and his family had volunteered at the Foodbank warehouse and Jacob began to understand the impact he could make by giving to people in his community. Jacob raised over $4,600 for the Foodbank that first year, and last year he and a friend raised almost $13,000. Jacob has created a team of kids this year with the shared goals of completing the Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint course and raising $25,000 to support the Foodbank in providing nourishment and nutrition education resources for a network of over 330 local non-profit partners.

When Herzog found out Jacob’s next endeavor was to raise money for charity while encouraging others to get involved in triathlons he wasn’t surprised, “Being for other people, not just yourself, is a key value in the Mansbach family.”

Triathlete and team founder Jacob Mansbach.

This year, with the help of Herzog, the team will grow and inspire other families to get involved.

“John is an awesome person,” said Jacob. “He is fun and inspiring and knows everything about this sport!”

Herzog will be mentoring the kids on all things Triathlon: Equipment, Health & Nutrition, Preparation, Training and Guidance.

“The goal is to have people prepared and confident. Some people love to run, some love to bike, some love to swim, not everyone feels confident doing all three, and everyone has a different end goal,” Herzog explains. “We will talk about transitions, from swim-to-bike, bike-to-run, the finish line photo moment, and the larger perspective of really taking it all in, being present in the moments that matter.”

This is a great experience for kids, they get to set a goal, challenge themselves, learn to train,  all while promoting and fundraising for a wonderful cause. Herzog recounts, “Whatever you choose to put into practice, having your work win over your circumstances, the more confident and empowered you begin to feel.”

The Ironman slogan rings true, “Anything is possible.”

 Kids4Foodbank Triathlon Team

This month Presidio Sports is honoring John Herzog
and his work with Jacob Mansbach and the Kids4Foodbank
Triathlon Team here in Santa Barbara. The Kids4Foodbank
Triathlon Team is looking for kids ages 7-18 to join the
team that will be competing the 2014 Santa Barbara
Triathlon sprint course. They will race to raise funds
to support the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
Herzog will be the team’s training coach.

Feeling inspired to join the team?

What you will need:

-Running shoes, bike, wetsuit (optional but a good idea)
-Positive energy to set and achieve your goal!
-They are more than happy to help you find gear to use.
-Contact Jennifer Mansbach at


Foodbank of Santa Barbara County kicks off nutritional program



The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County kicked off one of its nutritional programs Thursday that’s aimed at kids.

 It’s called Picnic in the Park.

About 300 kids enjoyed a healthy lunch Thursday at GroganPark in Santa Maria.

The program provides nutritious lunches and physical activities throughout summer when kids are out of school.

“Picnic in the park is one example of how we are working with the community to make sure that children are not hungry and families are being served,” says Bonnie Campbell with the Foodbank.

The Foodbank expects to provide 38,000 meals to 2,000 kids this summer.


County Foodbank serves up summer meals


Kids enjoy a free lunch at Grogan Park in Santa Maria during the kickoff event for the Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park Summer Food Program. The North County program aims to fill the gap after subsidized school meal programs end in the summer.

 June 12, 2014 12:12 pm   Erin Lennon

Grogan Park was busy with twirling hula-hoops, bouncing kids racing in burlap sacks and, mostly, healthy eating on Thursday afternoon when the  Foodbank of Santa Barbara County kicked off its Picnic in the Park summer program with a free, nutritious lunch for local youth.

Over the past five years, the food bank has stepped in after the school year has ended to serve up a hearty lunch throughout the summer. This year, the number of kids stopping by for food and activities is expected to increase, with the food bank’s director of community impact, Bonnie Campbell, looking forward to serving nearly 38,000 lunches this summer to 2,000 kids.

“We want to make sure that these kids have something to eat every day this summer,” said Campbell, noting that the program served 33,000 lunches last summer.

The volunteer-run program will host local youth at 16 sites around the county this summer, dishing up lunch Monday through Friday afternoons. The foodbank has chosen parks, housing facilities and neighborhood centers within two miles of school sites where at least half of students receive free or reduced-price lunch. This roster of locations includes three new sites in Lompoc and two new sites at Santa-MariaBonitaSchool District summer program locations.

“The kids who receive food assistance through the school district throughout the year don’t have to miss a meal just because it’s summertime,” said Campbell. They also don’t have to miss a lesson. Campbell and the food bank also provide programming to teach participants about healthy lifestyles.

Diners can take part in activities at Picnic in the Park as well, from races and games to nutrition literacy programming, with Campbell sure to provide prizes to keep kids coming back. The program is open to all county children under 18 years old, regardless of household income.

“The prizes make me want to come back to eat my lunch,” said a local student who is heading into fourth grade this fall. She and a number of other attendees at Thursday’s kickoff were not new to the program. Picnic in the Park is part of a decades-old national effort led by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, which works to make nutritious meals accessible to low-income children when the school year ends.

“The food bank is aware of the meal gap for these kids and is stepping in to fill that,” said Campbell. Through nutritious meals and educational games, the food bank also hopes to help students steer clear of overly processed, sugary snacks when they’re hungry this summer.

Picnic in the Park locations include the Santa Maria Public Library at 420 S. Broadway, Veterans Memorial Park at 545 Pine St. and Fairlawn Elementary School at 120 Mary Drive.


Brown Bag Wins Senior Citizen Program of the Year

In celebration of Older Americans Month, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s Brown Bag Program was awarded the 2013 Senior Citizen Program of the Year by the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens – Area Agency on Aging & AARP representing both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County for our impact in the senior community.

Nominees for Organization of the Year

Nominees for Organization of the Year

In 2013, the Brown Bag Program expanded to two additional program sites in collaboration with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara in Lompoc and People’s Self-Help Housing in Santa Maria. In areas showing high senior residences and a higher need for senior services, this collaboration enrolled an additional 115 clients who were not previously attending the program and reached an additional 150+ seniors at preexisting program sites by the year’s end.

Eloisa Chavez of Brown BagThrough this collaboration and with the goal to increase senior participation at all sites, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County was awarded $40,000 through Feeding America in collaboration with the AARP Foundation for our Brown Bag Program for Senior Citizens. The Foodbank is dedicated to making bigger strides both locally and nationally to further close the meal gap for seniors in our community through new partnerships and collaborations. The Brown Bag Program serves as a supplementary grocery distribution held twice a month at now 15 locations throughout Santa Barbara County and serves almost 1,300 elderly residents who struggle to pay for housing, health care, and basic needs on limited incomes.


California Wine Festival July 17-19

Join our friends at the California Wine Festival for this exciting wine tasting event!

CWF.crowdWine, food, music, sun and sea. Experience the quintessential California wine tasting and enjoy hundreds of California’s finest vintage wines, delicious gourmet foods samples and lively music. Discover new wines at every Festival, find a new favorite and pair it with a dizzying variety of fresh gourmet appetizers like artisan breads, cheeses, olive oils and so much more. Enjoy an afternoon of unlimited fun, food and music – at the biggest wine festival under the sun!

See the event schedule for details.

Who will be there? See the wineries list.


McCune Foundation Awards $330,000 in Social Justice Grants


By Claudia Armann for the McCune Foundation | Published on 06.09.2014 5:24 p.m.

The McCune Foundation awarded $330,000 for community organizing projects in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Twelve groups received grants in May to support teams of parents, grandparents, immigrants, teens and other concerned residents in creating beneficial changes in their communities.

“Inequality continues to be a problem, but citizens can play important roles in creating more equitable communities,” said Sara Miller McCune, the foundation’s president and co-founder. “Our grants help parents and youth have a stronger voice at schools and help engage farmworkers, seniors, and bus riders in improving local services.”

Grant dollars provided by the foundation will pay for salaries for community organizers, trainings and other program expenses. In 2013, the foundation awarded 30 grants and dozens of contributions totaling more than $800,000.

Grassroots groups that meet the foundation’s funding guidelines and that are interested in being considered for a grant may submit a letter of inquiry by the next deadline of July 11. Details on applying for a grant are available online by clicking here.

The McCune Foundation was established in 1990 by Sara Miller McCune and George D. McCune, the founders of SAGE Publications Inc. in Thousand Oaks. The foundation focuses its grantmaking in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties with the mission of being an agent of productive change in society by supporting the development of social capital in the region.

Grants Awarded in May

» Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) — $50,000 to bring about grassroots power, meaningful policy reform and systemic change in Santa Maria, Guadalupe and Santa Barbara with a focus on leadership development.

» Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST) — $20,000 for the Alliance for Sustainable & Equitable Regional Transportation (ASERT), a transportation coalition which builds grassroots power for transit users in underserved communities of Ventura County.

» Families ACT! — $30,000 for community organizing led by individuals and families dealing with mental health and substance use disorders to improve mental health services in Santa BarbaraCounty.

» Foodbank of Santa Barbara County — $21,500 for the Community Leadership Training & Food Security Advocacy Project, to build leadership among Santa Barbara County residents to mobilize for increased food security and an equitable food system.

» Foundation of the Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority — $16,000 for the Lompoc Promotores Network, which trains promotores to identify and mobilize around community issues affecting the Latino community in Lompoc.

» Fund for Santa Barbara — $25,000 to provide technical assistance services and capacity building workshops to nonprofit organizations in Santa BarbaraCounty.

» Future Leaders of America — $36,000 for core support of programs that develop Latino youth activists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, and Santa Barbara to impact the community through civic engagement.

» Kincares — $18,000 to convene and support grandparents in advocating for improved services for children being raised by their grandparents in Santa BarbaraCounty.

» Just Communities Central Coast — $50,000 for core support, with an emphasis on staff support for youth, parents, and educators in North Santa Barbara County and Ventura County who are mobilizing to close the achievement gap and improve social and academic outcomes for all students.

» Pacific Pride Foundation — $25,000 for LGBTQ Advocacy programs that train and engage activists in support of equal rights and a safer community for LGBTQ residents in Santa Barbara County.

» Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition — $25,000 for Connecting Our Community to organize activists to bring safe bicycling infrastructure to the South Coast of Santa Barbara County.

» Teachers for the Study of Educational Institutions — $15,000 for Teaching FAIR, a collaborative of teachers, administrators, community members, and UCSB professors which is developing K-12 curriculum that is culturally relevant and meets the mandates of the FAIR Act to teach about the contributions of various ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and LGBT persons.

— Claudia Armann is executive director of the McCune Foundation.