Tuesday, October 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on November 15th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 37 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 37

Spotlight on: Santa Barbara County Food Bank

Paul Wilkins, director of operations


The holiday season is in full swing, and the Santa Barbara County Food Bank will be accepting turkey donations for its entire duration.

However, this year’s annual drive for Thanksgiving dinner’s most popular centerpiece has thus far fallen short of expectations, by a couple thousand turkeys.

“We have just under 10 percent of what we need for what we were aiming for in terms of donations,” Operations Director Paul Wilkins told the Sun. “At the moment, we are just now at over 300 donated out of 3,000.”

The Santa Barbara County Food Bank is calling for donations for its annual turkey and canned food drives.

But even if the Food Bank hasn’t yet reached its goal for the November holiday, it will still be taking donations through the end of December.

Interested parties can donate online at foodbanksbc.org or drop birds off at either of the bank’s locations at 4554 Hollister in Goleta or at 490 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria. Drop-off hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

This time of year is the busiest for the bank’s 45 support staff and active volunteer base made up of some 2,000 county residents. Between the two locations alone, more than 10 million pounds of food is stored and later distributed throughout the county.

The Santa Maria location is the largest at about 20,000 square feet while Goleta’s is less than half that. Wilkins said the bank has a fleet of eight vehicles running virtually nonstop to make the delivery logistics possible.

He noted that the volunteers really helped ease the burden for regular staff.

“We have close to $500,000 worth of volunteer hours per year in our system,” Wilkins said. “It’s people showing up that are willing to put in the time and, dollars aside, it’s invaluable. There’s just certain things we couldn’t do dealing with product that has to be repacked and distributed.”

One example is bulk items the bank receives from grocery stores and local farms, like fruit.

“There’s just things we couldn’t do in terms of bulk product that has to be repacked and distributed,” Wilkins explained. “No agency is going to come in and pick up a 2,000 pound pack of oranges. We gotta break down packs of oranges to 30 and 40 pound increments.”

Those interested in volunteering can visit either of the bank’s locations to get involved.

This month is also the start of the annual nonperishable food drive, and Wilkins said the bank was looking for items ranging from cereal, pasta sauce, and peanut butter to canned beans, chicken, and tuna.

The drive runs through Dec. 15, and drop-offs can be made at the Sun’s office at 2540 Skyway Drive, Suite A, Santa Maria. 


• Santa Maria Toastmasters held an open house meeting on Nov. 14 at Toyota of Santa Maria. The event was free to the public. “We provide opportunities to develop speaking and leadership skills with confidence in a fun, friendly, supportive club atmosphere,” Michael Corob, club vice president of education, said in a statement. The keynote speaker was George Barnes, founder and president of Barnes Institute of Management Productivity, with the topic, “What it Takes to be a Good Speaker.”

Staff Writer Spencer Cole wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at spotlight@santamariasun.com.

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