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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011

By: Catherine Remak (Expired article)

Santa Barbara, CA -

The call for food from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has never been greater, with local families struggling with unemployment and under-employment. At the same time, the Foodbank's ability to assist local families has also never been greater.

According to a new report by Feeding America, the national organization of food banks, our county's food bank is now able to distribute an incredible $17 worth of food for every $1 donated. This 'best ever' efficiency is as a result of new purchasing procedures, bulk buying and a coordinated effort with other California food banks.


This is the time of year when donations are down, and yet the need for Foodbank services remains high. Executive Director Erik Talkin sites summer months as the slowest time of the year for financial contributions. Talkin states, "Typically, the Foodbank sees a drop-off in donations in the months June through August. Normally, we expect that and are prepared. This year, with so many people out of work and otherwise struggling financially, our task of serving our member agency network and residents is at a level our organization has not experienced before. Hunger never takes a vacation. That's why we are turning to the community and asking for help."

During these tough financial times, the Foodbank is serving more families with young children. In addition, people who have never asked for assistance before are coming to the organization for help. Talkin adds, "The good news is, it's the perfect time to donate. While the need to assist the residents of our community is at a critical level, with our new $1 for $17 program, the Foodbank's ability to serve has never been more effective and efficient!"

The ever-increasing need for Foodbank assistance can be clearly seen in the numerous letters received every week from Santa Barbara County residents, down on their luck and desperate to qualify for programs. Recently, a sixty-year-old county resident wrote describing a situation of futilely searching for work since being laid off over three years ago. Her unemployment benefits having run out, her main priority has shifted to paying the rent, and she often finds herself without enough food. She explains she never thought she’d be in this situation. Her emotional letter states that she has no food at home and the Foodbank is her last hope. This woman has now qualified for the Brown Bag program and picks up a bag of groceries twice a month.


The Foodbank is the largest hunger-relief and nutrition organization in the county, serving a network of more than 270 member agencies and programs countywide. Last year, the Foodbank distributed more than 10.2 million pounds of food, feeding over 100,000 individual residents. Programs receiving food from the Foodbank include food pantries, after-school and senior feeding programs, soup kitchens and emergency shelters.

To donate go to and select "give" or look for the Foodbank's "virtual food drive" where you can specify the food you wish to pay for with your donation. Or call the Foodbank directly at 805-967-5741 (South County) or 805-937-3422 (North County) .

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