BofA Names SB Foodbank Neighborhood Champion

Bank of America announced Dec. 12 the launch of its Neighborhood Champions program in the Santa Barbara and Venture area.

The program is an invitation-only program for “high-impact local nonprofits poised to take their work to the next level,” BofA said. Foodbank of Santa Barbara was selected as the first awardee for its work on hunger relief and food distribution especially following natural disasters.

The Neighborhood Champions award provides the Foodbank of Santa Barbara with $50,000 in grant funds.

Santa Barbara County still has one of the highest poverty rates in California and higher than the national average. Twenty-three percent of its residents are unable to meet basic economic needs, including access to healthy food. Foodbank of Santa Barbara provides food to one in four people in the county. That’s 78 percent of residents in northern Santa Barbara County. Nearly 40 percent are children. Foodbank recently opened a third emergency food distribution site.

Foodbank is the largest “food hub” in the county, collaborating with 300 nonprofit and community partners, businesses, colleges, farmers and local government to  provide nutritional education and distribute 10 million pounds of food per year to more than 71,200 local people in need.

The organization will use the Neighborhood Champion grant to implement its County Disaster Feeding Plan following natural disasters that result in significant increased demand for food services because of loss of income, shelter, power and school closures, such as what occurred after the 2017 Thomas fire and 2018 Montecito mudslide as it provided 460,000 pounds of food to nearly 12,500 evacuees, first responders and others facing economic crisis.

“Enabling our communities to more quickly recover after a disaster includes meeting their basic needs, like food and water. The solution is to work closely with our partner organizations to overcome food access challenges,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “The Neighborhood Champion grant will significantly help our efforts to complete our planning phase, move into implementation of the feeding plan and to evaluate our readiness.”

Posted Dec. 12, 2019.

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