The gift of giving

By Kevin Sanchez

With the holiday season right in front of us, the Food Bank of Yolo County begins its busiest time of the year. There are more than 34,000 people in Yolo County in need of food assistance and our goal is to serve as many families and individuals as possible this holiday season.

To achieve this, we are focused on our annual fundraiser, the Running of the Turkeys on Thanksgiving morning, collecting food from food drives at a rapid pace and preparing for two upcoming holiday distributions: Thanksgiving (Nov. 17) and Christmas (Dec. 22).

With the help of community partners, the Food Bank hopes to distribute three thousand holiday meals this season. As the largest hunger relief agency in the county, we invite you to join us as we work toward our mission of alleviating hunger and malnutrition in Yolo County this holiday season. This will not only benefit thousands of community members in need — but it will give your self-esteem a boost, too.

According to Mental Health America, “Those who consistently help other people experience less depression, greater calm, fewer pains and better health. They may even live longer.” Research from MHA also shows the following health benefits:

* Students who performed five acts of kindness a day increased their happiness

* Providing emotional support to others significantly decreased the harmful health effects of certain kinds of stress among older people

* People who donated money to charity got a boost in a feel-good part of the brain, as revealed in brain imaging research

MHA says that doing good can make you feel good. Here are a few ways you can have a direct impact in Yolo County:

Give Food. Food Drives can be creative, fun and competitive; we look for canned food items on the healthier side, such as low-sodium vegetables and fruit in light syrup, grains, legumes, proteins and, of course, turkeys. Download FBYC’s Food & Fund Drive Kit directly at www.foodbankyc.org.

Give Funds. Money is always needed. Your donation, whether it is $10 or $100, has an excellent return on investment. In fact, ninety-five cents of each dollar donated goes directly to supporting programs including the Kid’s Farmers Market, Children’s Harvest, Rural Food Delivery, and more.

Give Time. Volunteers are a critical component to our organization. They are the life-blood of many of our programs and activities at FBYC. Whether you are packing boxes for distribution, handing out food to those in need or assisting with administrative duties, there are endless ways to get involved.

Participate in Running of the Turkeys. Founded by the Rogers Family of Woodland in 2008, the Running of the Turkeys has become FBYC’s signature fundraising event. This family-friendly 5k run/walk spent its first three years at Nelson’s Grove, and this year, will move to Heritage Plaza in Downtown Woodland. From serious runners to families with children, the Running of the Turkeys, presented by Woodland Healthcare, offers a fun experience and raises awareness about hunger in Yolo County. To register or learn more visit www.runningoftheturkeys.org.

Information on the Holiday Food Distribution and all of our programs can be found at www.foodbankyc.org. Anyone in need of food assistance can contact FBYC directly at 530-668-0648 to sign up to receive a holiday food basket.

To learn more about how helping others can help you, please visit www.liveyourlifewell.org.

— Kevin Sanchez is the executive director of the Food Bank of Yolo County

Special to The Enterprise

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