CDCR workers join state employees’ effort to battle hunger

By Don Chaddock, InsideCDCR editor

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is joining other state agencies in this year’s California State Employees Food Drive, running Nov. 12, 2014, through Jan. 16, 2015.

It’s not too early to start as the collection barrels have already been distributed to some Sacramento facilities.

Last year’s drive brought in 621,644 pounds of food, helping feed thousands of hungry families.

Look for these barrels in state agencies around Sacramento, and in the lobbies of CDCR headquarters. You can organize an institution food drive to benefit your local food bank. See the story for details.

Look for these barrels in state agencies around Sacramento, and in the lobbies of CDCR headquarters. You can organize an institution food drive to benefit your local food bank. See the story for details.

This year’s food drive, overseen by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, has tapped the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services as the beneficiary and partner. The food bank partners with other food banks and entities to provide food and services to the needy.

Not in Sacramento? No problem

Since the drive is statewide, offices outside of the Sacramento area are welcome to participate. These offices may collect food to donate to their local food banks, pitch in for the rice program or make cash donations to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

“The local food bank should provide the agency with a weight receipt, which would then be emailed to CDCR food drive coordinator Norine Occhipinti at norine.occhipinti@cdcr.ca.gov,” to be counted toward the state employees’ group efforts, according to the drive’s website.  “All monetary donations must be made directly to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services because the food drive operates under Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services 501(c)3.”

See below for links to food banks across the state.

Where do I donate?

At CDCR’s Headquarters in Sacramento, employees will find barrels in the lobbies of the north and south buildings, as well as on various other floors of the two buildings. Barrels will also be located at CDCR’s Accounting Services (first and second floors) in Rancho Cordova on Goethe Road.

To make a cash or check deposit, use the Wells Fargo deposit slips at your local Wells Fargo Bank, the food drive’s website states. You can also donate to the rice purchase program.

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services is able to purchase 50 pound bags of rice for $25 apiece. The food bank is seeking monetary donations so they can purchase 80,000 pounds of rice.

Any checks need to be made payable to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

The checking account number is: 3211590678. The account is titled “Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services – State Employees Food Drive.”

Send a copy of the deposit slip or receipt, with CDCR written on it and indicating if it’s a cash donation or rice purchase donation, and send to the CDCR food drive coordinator, Norine Occhipinti, at CDCR Office of the Secretary, 1515 S Street, Room 502S, Sacramento, CA 95747.

What can I contribute?

If you want to donate food, recommended items include canned tuna, canned vegetables, canned meats, boxed macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, beans, soup, rice, baby food (dry or canned) and baby formula.

Do not donate open packages, open cans, open bottles or home-canned foods. They will not be accepted.

Can I donate large quantities of food?

Prior to soliciting large quantity donations of dry goods such as beans, rice or potatoes, contact Peggy Marshall of Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services at (916) 952-4504 ext. 107 or e-mail stateemployees@sacramentofoodbank.org. These food staples are always welcome, but unfortunately, the shelf life limits the acceptable quantities.

Turkey Drop is another way to donate

On Nov. 21 from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services along with KCRA hold the largest one-day turkey drive in Sacramento. Every year, the goal is to collect 7,000 turkeys. This year, the goal is to collect 8,000.

Individuals or departments can drop off their turkeys on their way to work, at lunch or after work. The food bank will record the weight and number of turkeys to appropriately credit each department.

Turkeys are in high demand during the holiday season and without donations, many families will not have meat in their holiday food boxes.

The Turkey Drop donation form is at TurkeyDrop2014DonationForm.

Turn in the form when you donate your turkey. Send a copy of the donation form to CDCR food drive coordinators Norine Occhipinti or Kathy Gaddi at California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Office of the Secretary, 1515 S Street, Room 502S, Sacramento, CA 95747.

For those not in the Sacramento area, turkey donations on Nov. 21 can be made at any food bank in your area. Use the turkey donation form and submit a copy to the food drive coordinator.

Why contribute?

California has six counties listed out of the 17 worst in the country for children who are food insecure, according to a 2013 study released by Feeding America, a non-profit organization. California has more counties listed than any other state in the country.

According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 Californians struggle with hunger.

In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 14 percent of American households remain food insecure – meaning 1 in 7 households in the United States had difficulty at some time during the year in providing enough food for all their members. Household food insecurity increased by 35 percent between 2007 and 2008 and has remained high since then.

According to the non-profit group Bread for the World, California tracks close to the national average with 15 percent of residents being food insecure.

Can I donate after the drive ends?

While the drive is held during the holiday season, hunger isn’t seasonal. Employees are encouraged to give to their local food banks on a regular basis.

Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.

Find a food bank in your area

There are many resources for finding a food bank. To ease your search, the following are some places to get started.

Feeding America lists 17 food banks in California helping battle hunger. Find the list at https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-in-your-community/states/california/.

To find food pantries in your area, visit https://www.foodpantries.org/st/california for a complete list.

The California Association of Food Banks lists their members at https://www.cafoodbanks.org/find-food-bank.

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) also compiled a list food banks and recovery resources at https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/reuse/links/food.htm.

The California Department of Social Services has a list of food banks at https://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/efap/PG1910.htm.

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