Holiday meals celebrate local food and community

By From page A10 | November 24, 2013

By Amanda McCarthy

During the holidays, food plays a significant role in celebrations. Hosts are planning menus for special occasions, families are celebrating long-time traditions, and neighbors are sharing homemade treats. Holiday meals are more than just food on a table.

They have become the centerpiece for families and communities and provide a unique way to celebrate the season. Many Yolo County families may not know where their holiday meal will come from but Yolo Food Bank is working hard to provide people in need with food for these meals in November and December.

We are fortunate to live in such a rich agricultural area. Farms are located throughout Yolo County, which means that there is a lot of local food grown and harvested in our backyard. Not only do holiday meals reflect the person or family who prepare them, they often reflect local food as well. In November, Yolo County grows an abundance of fresh produce including persimmons, winter squash, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and more. In addition, there are a variety of nuts, meats and grains available.

To help families in need of food assistance this holiday season, Yolo Food Bank will distribute 3,000 meals. With generous support from Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the Food Bank will provide each household with one turkey, 10-15 pounds of fresh produce, and 10 pounds of non-perishable goods including canned foods, rice from Conaway Growers, and a special dessert item. Celebrating the season is about being together and the Food Bank would like to provide people with the opportunity to share a special meal.

Yolo Food Bank is fortunate to get donations from local farms, gleaning organizations, and donors including Pacific Coast Producers, Nugget Market, Durst Organic Growers, Davis Co-op, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, RPE Inc., the Farm to Family program, Bel Air, Raley’s, Safeway, Food 4 Less, and La Superior Market. Thanks to the generosity of these donors, we will distribute 1,500 meals for Thanksgiving and an additional 1,500 meals for Christmas.

There are a number of ways that you can help this holiday season:

* Host a food drive: Collect items needed to complete holiday meals! Ask your group, club, office, or school, to collect food that we will be distributing this holiday season.

* Volunteer time: Contact Yolo Food Bank to find out how you can get involved! There are lots of great opportunities for groups and individuals.

* Donate funds: Did you know that the Food Bank can turn $1 into 2 meals or 14 pounds of produce? Every little bit helps.

* Get involved: Help us bring awareness to the issue of hunger in Yolo County to the community. Follow Yolo Food Bank on social media to learn more about what we are doing and how you can get involved!

Help Yolo Food Bank to make the holidays special for every family in our County. Visit www.yolofoodbank.org to learn more.

— Amanda McCarthy is the director of programs for the Yolo Food Bank

Special to The Enterprise

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