The best Christmas present(s) ever

The best Christmas present(s) ever
September 20, 2011 Betsy Stone

Sixth in a series

Late on December 21, 2010, River City Food Bank at last received the use permit that allowed us to occupy the donated temporary space in the foot of the Sutter Medical Center Sacramento garage.

While we worried how we would make it through the critical holiday giving season without operating phones and an office, Sacramento businesses, organizations and individuals came through with so many generous donations.  In addition to financial donations, many businesses made generous in-kind donations; Sierra Office Supplies dropped off boxes of paper, pencils and more, Ferrari Color printed five banners for us to use as temporary signage, and Caltronics found a copier for our Christmas stocking.

In 2009, approximately 30 organizations held large scale food drives benefiting RCFB.  In the 2010 holiday season, 224 people and organizations conducted food drives, yielding approximately 65,000 lbs. of food.

Eileen was surprised on December 3 when she attended the Partners in Philanthropy luncheon at the Business Journal’s invitation.  Sponsors AT&T, Wells Fargo and Western Health Advantage huddled before the event and decided to consolidate their donations. Eileen walked out with a $13,000 check.

Local businesses and professionals donated approximately $50,000 worth of materials and labor to improve our temporary space.  Our list of heroes included Richard Sambucetti and Lane Borges (owner) of Borges Architectural Group; Valley Commercial Contractors (Jeff DeWeese and Hal Franscioni); Weckworth Electric (Rod Weckworth and Nate Petee); River City Restoration (Scott Joseph); Norberg Engineering (Bill Norberg); T&S Plumbing and Fab Works (Tim Patton); Barnum and Celillo (Fred Barnum); Panattoni Construction (Steve Soderburg and David Everman), Airco Mechanical (Matt DeWitt); and Roscoe Glass (Dan McGoldrick).

As we completed construction, one big worry remained: how would we replace the commercial freezers and refrigerators that burned in the fire?  One of the thing that distinguishes RCFB from other food closets is its inclusion of protein — dairy and frozen ground meat — in our three-day emergency food supplies.  Without large commercial appliances, we had no way to store such foods at a safe temperature.

Steve Heath of United Way offered to approach Hobart, which agreed to donate two commercial refrigerators and two commercial freezers from its refrigeration division, Traulsen.  When the guys from Jericho Electric installed them, they said, “These are the best boxes made.”  Hobart and Traulsen saved RCFB approximately $24,000 through their generous donation.

The holiday just kept getting better when our Google Voice answering service picked up a message on Christmas Eve from Rabo Bank in Roseville.  Rabo asked for our address to send us a check for $20,000 to support our rebuilding efforts.

Besides food drives, so many organizations and businesses thought up clever ways to get involved.  Organizations donating proceeds to RCFB included the Bel Tempo Handbell Choir, Elite Fitness, Bounce U, Selland’s, the Urban Hive, and Peet’s at 19th and R.

Next:  The most welcome gift of volunteers

Posted by @philanthrophile, also known as Betsy Stone

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