Information from the Contra Costa and Solano County Food Bank

Planned Response to COVID-19

Most Needed Foods:

To help the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano provide nutritious, nonperishable food item click here for a list of the Most Needed Foods.

Donate to the Contra Costa and Solano County Food Bank:

The need for our services in this emergency will only grow with numbers of people cut off from their ability to work, so we must continue as long as we are able. We need you to help us continue as a vital resource to the community.

Donate here.

Questions about Food Donations?

Contact: and

Though the full effects of the pandemic will take time to fully manifest, the number of individuals suffering from food insecurity has already increased: in the past week, CalFresh applications surged by 289%. Site managers have already witnessed a 10-15% increase in attendance. Government officials at all levels are working on measures to soften the economic impact of the crisis but it is unlikely to be enough.  With housing costs ranked among the highest in the nation, $1000 will not go very far in the Bay Area. With over 40 years of experience serving the community, the Food Bank is prepared to respond to increased demand and ensure none of our neighbors is without food.

Our team is working diligently to work within a fluid and constantly changing environment.  Key to this effort are the Food Bank’s established relationships with elected officials, school districts, health departments, and community stakeholders. As of today, March 23, the entire state of California is under a “shelter-in-place” order.  As an “Essential Business,” the Food Bank is exempt from this order but must still comply with social distancing requirements, to the extent possible. We aim to meet all requirements while ensuring the most vulnerable in the community get the food they need in the safest manner possible.  To this end, we have made the following adjustments to our program to respond to the crisis:

•         We have teams of volunteers working to assemble 3000 food boxes (with both produce and shelf stable food) a week for quick, sanitary distribution. At the same time, we are looking ahead preparing for increased production.

• We are implementing social distancing practices whenever possible in the office, warehouse, sorting rooms and distributions. We are regularly cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and workspaces.

• In anticipation of increased demand from all sectors, we are working on new sites for large-scale drive up distributions of preboxed items to meet at central locations and the first is planned for next week at Los Medanos College. Negotiations continue regarding site use, planning for volunteer needs, and operational requirements with additional locations. 

• We have developed a plan to get supplemental boxes of produce and shelf stable foods to school sites in West Contra Costa USD, Antioch USD, Vallejo USD and Mt. Diablo USD.  We are in planning conversations with the other districts but will no longer run direct distributions at schools due to feedback that schools are already overwhelmed by the volume of people attending and want to avoid any potential for chaos. 

• We are taking additional precautions at Senior Food Program sites and have developed a safety protocol in partnership with Dr. Alison Buttenheim, a PhD in Public Health who studies the behavioral aspects of infectious disease prevention.  These additional measures allow us to deliver much-needed food to an especially vulnerable population in the safest manner possible, 

• We have received approval from the USDA to waive income screening at distributions. This will allow for quicker movement, less person to person contact, and more people to get food.

• Many of our regular distributions are open to all members of the community, so families also have this as an additional resource.

• In order to ensure we are adequately prepared for all future possibilities, we are stockpiling food and supplies.  

Keeping the community informed on the status of our program is key to our response efforts.  We have listed school distributions along with the Food Bank’s regular distributions on our website ( and will update as needed. We are also using social media, flyers and posters, and weekly email blasts to keep our stakeholders informed. To ensure families with students home from school know where to find food, we are working with the districts to broadcast information in a robocall.

Expected Expenses

We anticipate considerable increased expenses as we work to meet the needs of the community, including:

• Operational and food costs will increase dramatically as we adapt our programs to meet higher need. The emergency food boxes we are currently assembling will cost $60,000/ month. Additional expenses include food provision costs, program expansion,transportation expenses, and supplies. Our food purchasing team has already witnessed a 50% increase in the cost of dairy products. 

• We have lost about 20% of our committed volunteers and project increased staffing and recruitment costs (overtime of existing staff, hiring of temporary workers) due to this loss. 

• Increased sanitation and social distancing measures- implemented “social distancing” practices wherever possible in volunteer shifts and distributions; re-trained all volunteer safety practices with an emphasis on handwashing and consistent use of protective gloves, offered hand sanitation stations, Clorox wipes, and 10% bleach solution bottles provided for use as needed; and have monthly deep cleans scheduled for workspaces, volunteer areas, and high traffic areas of both our Concord and Fairfield warehouses. 

If our operating expenses increase at the current forecasted rate of 10% due to this crisis, the Food Bank will need to raise an additional $1.27 million dollars to support these costs. But the reality is that if this crisis escalates or stretches out through the calendar year, our expenses could be much higher. 

Although we cannot predict how long this crisis will last, past experience providing emergency food to those in need has shown that advance planning, utilizing community partnerships, and a swift response can make an immense difference in how quickly people get the food they need.  

With your help, we can meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us. The Food Bank is incredibly grateful for your consideration of our proposal and support of the Food Bank’s work in the community. Please let us know if we can provide clarification or additional information.

Request Summary

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano (EIN 94-2418054) respectfully requests support for our work to distribute food in the community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Organization Description

Mission Statement:  Leading the fight to end hunger, in partnership with our community and in service of our neighbors in need. 

The Food Bank, incorporated July 28, 1975, serves approximately 178,000 people in need every month and distributed over 25 million pounds of food last year, more than half of it fresh produce. Our administrative overhead and fundraising cost is approximately 4%. We provide food assistance to children, seniors, homeless people, families in crisis, people with health issues, the disabled, and working poor families.  The Food Bank also raises community awareness of hunger through nutrition education and anti-hunger advocacy. We engage in robust CalFresh (SNAP) outreach to connect people with this underutilized food resource.

The Food Bank supports over 200 partner agencies (churches, soup kitchens, shelters, etc.) and runs eight direct service programs of its own.  Food Bank staff run our direct service programs with the help of dedicated volunteers from throughout the community. Volunteers also help (sorting food, warehouse assistance and special projects) in both the Concord and Fairfield warehouses.  In 2018-19, Food Bank volunteers served over 100,000 hours, the equivalent of 52 full-time employees. All of our varied activities aim to alleviate food insecurity for clients in the short term, and in the long run end hunger in our community. 

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