SESLOC Spotlight highlights local organizations that make the Central Coast the best place to live.
Today we’re shining the spotlight on the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County. 1 in 4 people in Santa Barbara County struggle with food insecurity — many of them are children. Laurel Alcantar, Development Manager, tells us how the nonprofit has supported our community for almost 40 years.
Food Bank of Santa Barbara County
Serving the Central Coast since: 1982
How many employees? 49
How many volunteers? 1,700+
What’s your mission? To end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition.
What’s unique about the Food Bank of Santa Barbara? There are a couple of things that I would say are unique about the Foodbank. Food is our specialty, our area of expertise. For almost 40 years we have worked to build partnerships on a local and national level which allow us to efficiently acquire and distribute food in Santa Barbara County to those with the greatest need. We work with over 300 nonprofits and faith-based organizations in Santa Barbara County to ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors have the food they need to stay healthy.
Another thing that is quite unique about us is the structure our organization has built around disaster preparedness. After the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslide in 2017 jolted our community, we realized that we needed to work hard and be ready in the event of another, potentially larger scale disaster. The preparations we made have greatly assisted us in responding to the drastically increased community need we have seen resulting from the COVID19 crisis.
What do you attribute to your success? We are successful because of our partnerships: Partnerships with donors, food suppliers, community organizations and volunteers. The relationships we have help us efficiently acquire food donations, purchase food, cover expenses and distribute food to those in need. We are truly a community organization.
What advice would you give someone interested in giving back to the community? If you are looking to help your community, please do. In whatever capacity you are able to help someone in need you are making our community kinder, stronger and more resilient. We welcome you to become one of our partners in whatever way you are able. Our organization needs donations and volunteers. We also need people simply to learn more about us to spread the word about the work we are doing and the help we can offer. I encourage you to follow the Foodbank Of Santa Barbara County on social media and visit our website www.foodbanksbc.org where you can learn, donate and volunteer.