Monthly Archives: October 2016

Tonja’s Story


When I moved from my home country the Netherlands to Santa Barbara last year, I was 7 months pregnant with our first baby. Exploring my new homestead with a big belly, I first heard about the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County at a sustainable foods fair at the UCSB. Two passionate Foodbank volunteers told me about millions of pounds of healthy foods sourced by the Foodbank each year for their 300 non-profit partners, as well as the Foodbank’s in-house programs that empower people who face food insecurity with free nutrition education and improved access to healthy foods for program recipients and their families.

I believe it as an advantage that the United States has had a far longer tradition of food banks than my country of origin. While food banks in the Netherlands focus majorly on giving out foods to low-income people, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County builds on an ever increasing amount of knowledge about nutrition and has created best practices to share this with the community such as teaching people about healthy and affordable foods, empowering community leaders to build stronger local networks and establishing innovative partnerships with health organizations in the community; these activities unknown to most of the food banks in the Netherlands.

I immediately felt passionate about working for the Foodbank and I finally got the chance about 8 months ago and ever since have been very happy to use all of my previous working expertise and efforts to roll out Foodbank’s new nutrition education program for people living with diabetes that also deal with food insecurity. I am grateful for the partnerships we’ve established with health organizations in both Santa Maria and Santa Barbara that increase our impact and compliment our individual strengths.

My daughter, Lea, is now 15 months old and being a mother makes me even more aware of the importance of improved access to healthy foods for everyone. Being able to provide my child with nutritious foods is a blessing and unfortunately not a straightforward thing for every parent, while it should be. Everyone at the Foodbank works hard to see this changed and it is only through generous donations and strong partnerships in the community that we can continue our work.

Tonja van Gorp is the Community Programs Coordinator at the Foodbank.



Join Jacob & Spencer’s Saturday Family Day Food Drive & Festival

Join us for a special Saturday Family Day this November 12 at the Santa Barbara warehouse.  We are hosting a Thanksgiving food drive and volunteer festival. Bring your food donations to drop off: frozen turkeys and chickens and foods from the list in the link below. We will have bike blenders for the kids to make smoothies, volunteer activities for the whole family, Apples to Zuchinni Cooking School will teach kids to make a healthly snack and Spencer of Spencer the Gardner will perform his “Gobble Song” live. Come join the fun and help the Foodbank!


Food drive items needed: here

Where:  Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, 4554 Hollister Avenue

When:  Saturday, November 12,  9:30 – 12:00, come at any time and stay as long as you wish

Sign up here:

We will run these activities all morning so feel free to come when you can and leave when you need to!



Montecito Journal: Stable Table

Jim and Stephanie Sokolove opened their beautiful Montecito estate, just a tiara’s toss from Oprah Winfrey, for the second consecutive year to host the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s fifth annual Table of Life beano, co-chaired by Ann Daniel and Nancy Sheldon with a record 250 garden party guests in hats and flats helping raise around $250,000 for the non-profit…

Click here to read more…


Seasons Magazine: A seat at the Foodbank’s Table of Life provides food security for local children

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County‘s  5th Annual Table of Life Gala, bringing together food and wine enthusiasts for an evening of indulgence, while supporting the Foodbank’s critical efforts to teach nutritional health to children.  This year, Foodbank honors Maryan Schall and Deckers Brands for their leadership and dedication to improving food security in Santa Barbara County.

Click here to read more…