River City Food Bank fights childhood hunger

River City Food Bank fights childhood hunger
February 2, 2012 Betsy Stone

Nearly half the people in California live on the edge financially — just one set of bald tires, medical problem or job cutback away from collapse. When their savings aren’t enough to see them through a crisis, these families suddenly slip from “making it” to being poor. We all have our point of view as to cause and even blame, but the fact remains that children become innocent victims.

River City Food Bank believes “no one should be hungry” — especially children.

Sadly, things could soon grow worse for working poor families. If a federal bill now in conference passes, families who use “individual taxpayer identification numbers” issued by the Internal Revenue Service will be denied cash refunds under the child tax credit to those who file tax returns, a credit that has been a life-saver for families who are struggling.

River City Food Bank’s response

In 2011, River City Food Bank’s Food Aidprogram provided 3-day emergency food supplies for 13,632 children, nearly 30% of all meals we provided.

But look at how the numbers are rising: the number of meals we provided for children jumped from 885 in January 2011 to 1,230 last month – almost a 40% increase from the prior year.

And through our BackSnacks program, another 362 children enrolled in two schools each received 218 snacks throughout the school year. The BackSnacks program fills kids’  backpacks with nutritious snacks to help them maintain their energy after school and on weekends. Typical goodies include 100% juice boxes, energy bars, dried fruit, etc. Kids who aren’t hungry are better able to study, participate in activities and exercise.

We’re thrilled that the Sisters of St. Francis recently made a donation of $12,000 to fund the expansion of BackSnacks to a third school. As part of their long history of social justice, the Sisters founded a daycare center in Sacramento for cannery workers in 1920, which later provided daycare to Japanese-American women who supported the WWII war effort by working in manufacturing. The Sisters wanted to perpetuate their original mission of caring for women, and are doing so by helping RCFB distribute nutritious snacks to kids in need.

Three ways to help fight childhood hunger

1.  Volunteer! We’re looking for someone to help coordinate the expansion of BackSnacks into a third school. Interested? Contact us: .

2.  Hold a mini-drive for family essentials: bigger sized diapers, baby wipes, baby formula (preferably milk-based) and toiletries. We’d also love children’s books! (Remember you can drop off donations of food or children’s items at any Goodwill Store or Goodwill Donation Xpress in the Sacramento region.)

3.  Make a tax-deductible donation to River City Food Bank to help provide families with nutritious groceries to help them make it through tough times.

Can you help make our new home welcoming for children?

On our wish list, we’re looking for a children’s activity table and two child-sized chairs to help entertain the tots who accompany moms and dads when they visit our new facilitate at 1800 28th Street. We need something with no loose pieces, appropriate for kids 5 and under.