Local funders announced grants totaling $432,500 to the Food Bank for Monterey County on Tuesday, March 31. This is a historic, collaborative response to a community emergency that is unprecedented in Monterey County. It reflects the value that local funders put on the Food Bank’s vital role feeding the working poor, families with children, seniors, disabled, military families and retirees and other vulnerable populations.
"We are pulling together to focus on the basic need for food in much of our community, but it is really a first step in helping rebuild the capacity of the food bank so it can quickly resume its vital work," said Steve John, CEO of Monterey Peninsula Foundation, commenting that partnership is crucial to making a difference.
With nearly 15% of our county’s population (approximately 61,810 people) facing the threat of hunger because they may not have enough money to buy food, a well-stocked, operational Food Bank is essential to the wellbeing of our community.
• 24% of all calls to 2-1-1 Monterey County are requesting help with meeting Basic Needs – food, shelter and utilities
• 82% of those calls were referred to a Food Pantry so callers could receive needed food
• 72.2% of students in Monterey County schools are eligible for Free School Meals. That means that these children live in a household with an annual income that is below $29,101. It also means that when they are not in school, these students are at risk of going hungry.
• Monterey County has the highest rate of adults who are food insecure than any other county in California
• 50% of those served are children
• 47% of households served by Food Bank have at least one employed adult
• The 130 pantries and nonprofits serve the elderly, chronically ill, homeless and working poor. These agencies serve more than 51,872 households. This includes after-school programs and fresh food farmer’s markets at Sally Griffin and other locations.
The group hopes that their leadership will further stimulate the monetary donations that are urgently needed. The grants were approved in less than five days in an extraordinary effort to provide immediate relief so that the Food Bank could re-open as quickly as possible. The grants are coming from:
• Community Foundation for Monterey County, represented by Dan Baldwin, President and CEO
• The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, not represented but part of funding
• First 5 Monterey County, not represented but part of funding
• Harden Foundation, represented by Joe Grainger, Executive Director
• Monterey Peninsula Foundation, represented by Mary Gunn, Director of Philanthropy, and Steve John, CEO
• Nancy Buck Ransom Foundation, represented by Kathy Coopman, Executive Director
• Pebble Beach Company, represented by Susan Merfeld, Senior Vice President, Community Affairs
• United Way Monterey County, represented by Mary Adams, President and CEO
An informal group that meets monthly, these funders are especially aware of the vital role the Food Bank in feeding the hungry and maintaining our community safety net. Immediately after the fire, foundation representatives visited the Food Bank to view the damage and confer with Melissa Kendrick, Executive Director of the Food Bank, to determine the most critical needs.
“Our board committed discretionary funds, and donor advisors were grateful to have a clear way to contribute,” said Dan Baldwin, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. “They know people will go hungry if the Food Bank is unable to replenish the warehouse, rebuild the infrastructure and replace trucks.“
“The best way we can help the Food Bank get back in business is to donate money so they can pay for all the things that must be replaced or repaired,” said Mary Adams, President and CEO of United Way Monterey County. “Regardless of the amount you gift matters – for each $1 in donations, the Food Bank can buy $5 worth of food.”