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Feeding Sonoma County

August 11, 2011

The Sonoma County Fair has long been a gathering for farming folks involved in local agriculture looking to show off their products and projects, as well as educate the public about the bounty of food grown and produced here.  There are displays throughout the fairgrounds showing the many fruits and vegetables grown in the area, and on any given day the barns are filled with livestock being shown or auctioned. But the fair is more than just about agriculture.  It’s a gathering place for friends and families. A place to come enjoy the rides and watch the shows. A place to reconnect with your neighbors and to feel a sense of unity with your community. It’s about all the best things about Sonoma County.

Friday, July 29th, charming Miss Wine Country Rodeo, Tracy Hinson; the KRSH’s Katie; and Dale Miller from Romelli Bail Bonds joined together to encourage fairgoers to donate non-perishable food and get $2 off general admission.

Over the years, it has been a goal of the fair to provide an opportunity for fair-goers to give-back to our community. Some of our most treasured events are the Food Bank Fridays. Each year, we work with the fabulous folks over at the Redwood Empire Food Bank to have collection bins at each of our gates where fair-goers can drop off non-perishable food on their way into the fair. As a way of thanks, we give them a $2 discount on their fair entry fee.

“It’s important to us at the Fair to be able to give back to the community,” says Tawny Tesconi, Fair Director. “We are so fortunate with the abundance of food produced here in Sonoma County, and it’s important to remember to share that bounty with those who may need a little extra help. It’s been our pleasure to work with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, and we hope to continue the tradition for years to come.”

If you’re not familiar with the great work done by the fine folks at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, they are an incredibly valuable community service organization that has been integral to improving the lives of so many Sonoma County residents.

The mission of the Redwood Empire Food Bank is to end hunger in our community. Since 1987, the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s service has grown to meet the rising need for food assistance and expanded to focus on providing as much healthy food as possible and including nutrition education as an integral part of many of our programs. We currently assist over 78,000 Sonoma County residents every month. We provide food through our own hunger initiatives that focus on the unmet needs of low-income children, seniors, and working families. We also are a primary source of food for a network of 147 community based charitable organizations that operate 234 human service programs helping the needy, disabled and homeless in Sonoma County. We currently distribute over 13 million pounds of food annually, almost half of which is fresh fruits and vegetables. The Redwood Empire Food Bank depends on food and funds drives, such as Food Bank Fridays at the Fair, to end hunger in Sonoma County. Thank you for your donations.

The Food Bank Friday events are sponsored by local companies each year. This year’s sponsors are the amazing folks at KRSH – Wine Country Radio and Romelli Bail Bonds. It’s heartening to see local companies stepping up to the plate to help end hunger in Sonoma County! But we need your help too! Last year, Food Bank Fridays collected a total of 5,256 pounds of food. So far, this year, we’ve only collected 3,373 pounds, which leaves us 1,883 pounds of food to go to reach last year’s total, and over 2,627 pounds of food away from reaching the 6,000 pound mark. That means there’s still a lot of work to do! If you’re coming to the fair on Friday, please consider bringing a couple of cans (or bags or boxes) of non-perishable food. Let’s see how close we can get to the our goal!

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