Author Archives: Hailey Phelan

Volunteer Appreciation Month: How to Make a Difference

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will be shining a spotlight throughout the next several weeks on our amazing volunteers, who enable us to do our work to battle food insecurity throughout the county.

There are many ways to make a difference in your community by supporting the Foodbank’s mission through volunteerism.

At our Santa Maria and Santa Barbara warehouse locations, volunteers are needed to assist with food sorting, agency shopping, administrative tasks and other warehouse duties. Children, as young as five, are welcome to volunteer with their family and friends at our Saturday Family Days, when they sort food, crate produce and learn about the Foodbank and our work.

In our communities, volunteers facilitate our Mobile Farmer’s Markets, Mobile Food Pantry and Brown Bag Distributions. This allows us to provide food to those directly in need. If you enjoy working with children and sharing your knowledge, you might be interested in Picnic in the Park, Teens Love Cooking, Food Literacy in Preschool or Kids Farmers Market. Children learn about healthy food choices and receive fresh produce in these volunteer-run programs.

Perhaps, you may be interested in joining one of our Empty Bowls Committees or sharing your expertise in marketing, social media and much, much more. There are so many ways to lend your time and talents, to keep up to date with the latest volunteer opportunities, visit us at and be sure to create an account.

In addition to volunteering, we want to remind you that one of the simplest ways that anyone can participate in our mission, is by hosting and/or donating to a food drive.  Over 60% of the food that we distribute annually comes from donations. Our biggest food drive of the year is our county-wide Letter Carriers’ Drive when we partner with our Postal Offices on Saturday, May 11. Keep your eyes peeled for a paper bag or post card in your mailbox with all the details and then, on May 11, be sure to leave your donations out for your letter carrier to pick up on their routes. All donated food goes directly to Santa Barbara County residents!


The Many Faces of Volunteerism

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will be shining a spotlight throughout the next several weeks on our amazing volunteers, who enable us to do our work to battle food insecurity throughout the county.

Our volunteers come from different backgrounds and places in the world. They range from toddlers to seniors. They are students, working professionals, retired members of the community and more. Some volunteers come as a group and others on their own.  They all have different reasons for volunteering and they all choose different ways to engage with the Foodbank. Through their differences, our volunteers share one thing in common: they are all helping to end hunger in our community.

Some of our volunteers are so committed that they feel like staff. They come 2-5 times every week and have designated projects and tasks that they have been trained to do. Other volunteers come once a week and do more general assistance like cleaning or sorting goods. We also have people that come once a month, once a year or just one time during their vacation in Santa Barbara County. Every hour that a volunteer gives to the Foodbank counts, and we appreciate each person that offers us their time.

Our volunteers are people that want to make a difference in our community. They are individuals seeking purpose and ways to give back to those less fortunate. Sometimes our volunteers are students that are serving for course credit. Other times they might be business professionals at a corporate team building event. Regardless of their reasons, we can’t do what we do without them! Our volunteers are the backbone of this organization regardless of why they choose to donate their time and talent.

If you are looking for ways to get involved with the Foodbank as a volunteer, please visit our volunteer webpage ( or email us at







Why Volunteerism is Critical

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will be shining a spotlight throughout the next several weeks on our amazing volunteers, who enable us to do our work to battle food insecurity throughout the county.

Annually, we engage over 2,000 volunteers in nearly all aspects of our work. We rely on these generous team members to ensure that we are able to serve 1 in 4 community members.

Every day, at both our North and South County warehouses, regular volunteers join us to help sort and crate donated food, assist our agency partners in their daily shopping, and drive or ride along as our Operations team goes to area stores as part of our Grocery Rescue food recovery program. Many of these volunteers have been around for years and commit multiple mornings a week to helping out with our daily operations, effectively doubling our Operations workforce.

The Foodbank also boasts a multitude of community programs, including educational programs such Food Literacy in Preschool (FLIP), Kid’s Farmers Market (KFM), and Teens Love Cooking (TLC), in which volunteers educate local kids on nutrition. We rely on bright, dedicated, and engaged volunteers to ensure that the next generation has a healthy foundation.

Our Picnic in the Park (PIP) program, which serves kids free lunches throughout the summer at multiple sites countywide is completely powered by our volunteer base, as is our Brown Bag program, which provides low-income seniors with food staples and fresh produce at 16 sites and through a home delivery program.

These are just a few examples of the many ways our amazing volunteers power our work and enable us to widen our community impact. We will be highlighting ways to get involved with our work throughout this month through this blog and our social media channels.

If you are looking for ways to get involved with the Foodbank as a volunteer, please visit our volunteer webpage ( or email us at



Food as Medicine: An Easy-to-Digest Podcast for a healthier you.

If you missed our Food as Medicine Lesson on cruciferous vegetables, have no fear! We have turned the information into a bite-sized podcast, so you can learn about making nutritious choices wherever you are. Feel free to download and distribute to your friends!

About the Food as Medicine Program:

Food as Medicine at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is a free, community-based education series presenting evidence-based nutrition and food information. Professional nutritionists, consultants, and dietitians share scientific findings alongside practical food preparation techniques and prepared recipe tastings. Food as Medicine sessions highlight invaluable functional properties of food less commonly discussed on main stream media platforms. Rather than focus on nutrient content, which most people are not extensively familiar with, we engage in discussion of a functional compound uniquely available in a fresh food source and the role it has in healing the body or maintaining health.

Our first community Food as Medicine event was hosted in February and covered the topic of cruciferous vegetables. Listen to the podcast below and download the packet with tips, tricks, and recipes to follow along! If you’d like to know about the next Food as Medicine event, like us on Facebook or sign up for our email list.

Download Informational Packet


The Power of Nose-to-Tail Eating

Meat is a great source of protein, but can also be very expensive. However, there are incredibly healthful ways of eating meat that don’t have to break budget, and that are more environmentally friendly than the most common options. By eating organ meats, we are ingesting a wider variety of nutrients and adding a variety to our diet that we don’t usually have.

Unlike our ancestors, today we eat mostly muscle meat. Cuts like ribeye,
prime rib, skirt steak, ground chuck, all come from muscles and share a
similar nutritional profile. Organ meats and bones carry nutritional profiles
that enhance and complement the nutrition in muscle meat. Example: The
amino acids methionine (found abundantly in muscles) and glycine (found
abundantly in bones & cartilage) both perform vital functions in the body.

Nutrient Density
Different organs contain concentrations of different nutrients depending on
which nutrients they need to do their jobs. Examples: Heart is a great source
of CoQ10, adrenal glands contain high amounts of Vitamin C, and liver is a
wealth of nutrients due to the many functions it performs and the many
nutrients it needs to do them.

You may be wondering, how am I supposed to cook that? Here’s a simple recipe for beef heart to get you started.

• 1 beef heart, trimmed and cut into slices or chunks
• salt as needed
• 1/2 large shallot, roughly chopped (save the other half for the vinaigrette)
• pepper to taste
• olive oil as needed
• arugula as needed (a handful per serving)

For the vinaigrette:
• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1/2 large shallot, minced
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 chopped tablespoon each: oregano, parsley, chives

1. Liberally salt the beef, add the shallot and oil, toss and refrigerate till
you’re ready to cook it (an hour is optimal, but for as long as 24 hours).
2. For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, shallot and salt and allow to
sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining herbs.
3. Grill the beef over hot direct coals. Depending on your grill and how
you’ve cut your meat, you may want to grill the pieces in a basket or
put them onto water-soaked skewers. Grill to medium rare, 2 to 3
minutes per side.
4. Arrange arugula on plates, top each with beef heart, and spoon the
vinaigrette over the meat.


Food as Medicine

The Food as Medicine series was created as a way to educate the community on how food affects your body and how making healthy choices can lead to a healthier life. Presented by professional nutritionists Vibeke Weiland & Randi Miller, this lecture will cover how adding cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage to your family’s diet can help prevent cancer, detoxify harmful chemicals from your body, and positively change the way your genes affect your health.

These lectures are free of charge, however seating is limited. To reserve your spot, please email Lacey Baldiviez –

Wednesday February 13, 6.30pm-8:00pm

Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library

This class will include:

  • A comprehensive list of cruciferous vegetables—there are more than you think!
  • An in-depth look at the compound they contain that makes them so potent
  • Tips and tricks for maximizing the nutritional power of foods you already eat, like broccoli and cauliflower
  • A live cooking demo (including Coconut Braised Kale, and Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Dates)
  • More delicious and healthy recipes to take home and incorporate into your family’s diet
  • Cruciferous snacks for nibbling while you learn.

Furloughed federal employees get help feeding their families

Furloughed federal workers and those working without paychecks because of the U.S. government shutdown got some help feeding their families Wednesday as Foodbank of Santa Barbara County distributed food to them at three locations.

Read the full article by 

PLEASE NOTE: Updates have made been since the publication of this article. The Lompoc location has been changed from the Methodist Church to the Federal Correctional Staff Housing Center, located at 242 Oakridge Road in Lompoc.


Santa Barbara County Non-Profit Helping Public Prepare For Disasters With Emergency Food Kits

The one year anniversary of the deadly 1/9 debris flow in Montecito was not only a chance to remember those who lost their lives, and were injured. It helped focus new attention on the issue of preparedness. In the wake of the Thomas Fire, and Montecito debris flow, a non-profit agency which normally focuses on feeding the hungry in Santa Barbara County is making available disaster preparedness food kits.

Read more of the article by here. 

Purchase Disaster Box Here