Campus rallies together to fight hunger and support food banks


Logo courtesy of the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

Marissa Montoya

In recent years, the month of November has been known as the official month of gratitude, and with Thanksgiving at the end of the month, November does seem like the ideal time to reflect and give thanks.

The start of the holiday season is also known as a time when communities rally together to donate time, food and other goods for those in need. Many clubs and Greek organizations hold food and donation drives. The Student Association for Applied Behavior Analysis and the National Student Speech, Language & Hearing Association are just two campus clubs which are holding canned food drives to support Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

Donations for SAABA can be dropped off through Nov. 20 in Amador Hall room 110. Drop-off hours are Mondays from 12-1 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays from 12:30-1:30 p.m., and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Katie Copsey, SAABA secretary, said her group chose to donate to SFBFS because they are a reputable agency that has been around since 1976. She also said SFBFS makes it easy to host food drives because they drop off collection bins and come back to pick up donations.

SFBFS provides for more than 150,000 people every month through 14 free services and programs including Food Access, Clothing, Adult Education, Health and Nutrition, and CalFresh. SFBFS focuses on providing educational resources to those in need to address the root causes of hunger and move people toward self-sufficiency and financial independence

As a non-profit, SFBFS relies on donations, volunteers and special events such as the Run to Feed the Hungry, which begins in front of the Sacramento State campus.

Elise Hawkins, communications officer for SFBFS, said they could not provide services to such a large population if it were not for countless individual and corporate donations and over 6,000 volunteers every year.

“With 244,000 people in Sacramento county identifying as food insecure, the need is year-round. If time is not something you have available to you, SFBFS always encourages online donations to be used to strengthen our 14 services. You can set up a one-time contribution, or make a monthly commitment,” explained Hawkins.

Kelly Siefkin, director of communications and marketing for SFBFS, said as little as $1 can make a bigger impact than most people think.

“Sac State students on a limited budget can make an impact in our community with a donation. Every $1 donated is turned into $10 worth of goods and services,” said Siefkin. “A monthly gift of $10 from a Sac State student, [which is] just three coffees or one big burrito, can positively impact a family in need by providing food, education and hope.”

Another notable organization helping those in need is River City Food Bank. Also a non-profit, River City has been providing a variety of services to the community since 1968.

Carol Chamberlain handles public relations for River City and encourages volunteers all year long, but especially during the holiday season.

“The holiday season is particularly busy at the River City Food Bank, as children receiving free meals at school are on vacation, and expenses, such as utility bills, surge while incomes remain fixed or don’t exist. A car expense, a medical bill or even fluctuation at the pump can mean the difference between dinner on the table or not for the working poor,” said Chamberlain. “And guess what? Chances are you may know someone in this predicament. College students are an increasing demographic among the food insecure.”

While food and clothing drives are some of the popular ways people choose to give back during the holidays, Siefkin encourages everyone to find an organization that aligns with their personal passion, whether its animals, the environments or families in need.

Both SFBFS and River City Food Bank make it easy to get involved by offering volunteer opportunities during various days and times. Volunteers are needed to bag produce, lead classes, tutor children, serve food and more.