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Monday, November 15, 2010

Food Banks & Pantries of Sonoma County

By Aleta Taylor
I compiled this list off of what I could find online and through references. But it can always be added on to, so if you know of a great food bank/pantry in your area, please email as much info as you can find to, or call me at 707-887-0253. I would love to keep this list going throughout the year, since people find themselves more in need than ever. All of these organizations do wonderful things and need as much support as they can get this year. Whether you can donate food, money, or just some time, every little bit helps.

One thing I would like to mention is that, with the coming of winter, comes the harvesting of citrus. Every time I go for a walk, I see several houses with orange, lemon, and lime trees overflowing with ripening citrus. I can't imagine that those families will eat all that fruit! So if you have a neighbor or friend with surplus citrus this season, please give them this list. And to make it easy on them, I recommend the Farm To Pantry organization, where volunteer come to the home and harvest the produce themselves, then distribute it to local food banks.

Sometimes the best giving doesn't come from buying gifts for friends and family, but donating your time to the community and those in need. Consider the benefits of volunteering to help others - you will help yourself in return.

Redwood Empire Food Bank
The REFB is the largest food bank serving the North Coast of California from Petaluma to Oregon. Working with 146 other hunger relief agencies that operate 230 programs throughout the county, the REFB provides food to 70,000 Sonoma County residents each month. That number is 10,000 more a month than a year ago, the result of the economic recession’s impact on Sonoma County residents.
Recipients of REFB’s programs include 10,400 seniors, 30,000 children, and thousands of working families, the disabled, unemployed and the homeless. The REFB also is a primary resource for food pantries and other hunger relief agencies in Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

How to Help:
Online at, pay by credit card
Schedule a monthly giving through an automatic withdrawal from your checking account or credit card
Organize AND HOST your own food/funds drive with help and supplies from REFB
Organize donations at your workplace by contacting Connie Petty at or 707.523.7900 ext. 35

Contact Info:
3320 Industrial Dr
Santa Rosa California 95403
Phone 707.523.7900
Fax 707.523.7901
Office Hours & WIC Store Hours:
Monday thru Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Guerneville Community Church
Also supported in part by the Catholic Church, the MCC and Salvation Army. Food pantry open the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 9 am.

Contact Info:
14520 Armstrong Woods Rd
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-2514

COTS – Committee on the Shelterless

COTS offers help and hope to homeless persons in Sonoma County by providing safe shelter and housing, helping people develop steady incomes and helping them get back under a roof of their own. We help homeless families become stable and break the cycle of homelessness by teaching homeless parents to make their children's needs a high priority and to provide a safe, loving and secure home for their children.

How to Help:
Donate online by credit card at
Donate food or goods listed on their Wish List
Read about their many different volunteer opportunities, download a Volunteer Application, then fax or mail it in.

Contact Info:
P.O. Box 2744
Petaluma, California 94953
1500 Petaluma Blvd. S, #B
Petaluma Blvd, CA 94952
Fax 707-765-9043

West County Community Services

WCCS works to strengthen families in western Sonoma County. We provide opportunities, support and resources that touch the lives of youths, adults and seniors. By strengthening families we build stronger communities. WCCS operates five critical social services departments serving thousands of youth, adults, and seniors every year. The program departments include: Counseling and Prevention, Adult and Youth Employment, Russian River Senior Resource Center, After School Programs and Emergency Food & Housing Services. A unique and vibrant organization, WCCS is the only multi-services agency in the entire western Sonoma County area and we continually strive to provide focused, quality assistance that meets the needs of our local community.

How to Help:

Mail a donation check to:
West County Community Services
P. O. Box 325
Guerneville, CA 95446
Attention: Finance Department

Sign up for, COMMUNITYsmart card, and Albertson's Community Partners. When using these methods at participating stores, the merchants will donate a portion of their proceeds to the organization.

Volunteer with either food box preparation or reception by downloading the online application and emailing it to:

Contact Info:
P. O. Box 325
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 829-5717 voice
(707) 823-1642 fax

Saint Andrews Church
St. Andrew’s food program offers a food pantry every Tuesday 5-7pm, and a hot dinner on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month 5-7pm.

Contact Info:
20329 Highway 116
PO Box 721
Monte Rio, California 95472
Tel: (707) 865-0834
Fax: (707) 632-6042

Sebastopol Community Church
On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010 join us in Memorial Hall as we help host the 9th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Call the church office at 823-2484 to sign up to work a 4 hour shift on either Wednesday, November 24 or Thursday, November 25. We need prep work, cooking, serving and cleanup. If you are not available to work on either of those days, another big help to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner is to donate food items or cash. Non-perishable food items can be brought to church on Sunday, November 14 & 21 (potatoes, onions, canned goods, etc.) Checks can be made out to the Community Church with a notation in the memo line: Thanksgiving Dinner.

Contact Info:
Office (707) 823-2484
Fax (707) 823-9597
1000 Gravenstein Hwy. North
P.O. Box 579
Sebastopol, CA 95473

Forestville United Methodist Church - Food Closet
The UMC sponsored the origination of the successful Victory Gardens Project in Forestville.
Contact name is Katherine Best-Smith, Phone, 523-0252 and email,

Harvest for the Hungry
Relying exclusively on volunteer labor, the Harvest for the Hungry Garden delivers organically grown produce each week to four local hunger programs: FISH of Santa Rosa; The Living Room, a drop-in center for homeless women and children; Elisha's Pantry, and Food For Thought AIDS Food Bank. Each year we harvest approximately 10,000 lbs of fresh produce (tomatoes, carrots, beets, squash, fruit, lettuce, greens, onions and garlic) all grown on a 3/4 acre lot behind Christ Church United Methodist.

How to Help:
To donate gardening supplies, organic seed, building materials, tools, or soil amendment, please call Martin at

To make a cash donation, please call
Katie at 707.575.8250.

Volunteer hours are from 9 AM to 12 noon Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
during spring, summer, and fall. Our schedule changes seasonally, so please call before you come by, or stroll through the Garden anytime. We're open until sunset seven days a week.

Contact Info:
1717 Yulupa Avenue (Behind Christ Church United Methodist)
Santa Rosa, CA

Ceres Community Project
During 2008, more than 70 teens from a dozen area schools spent 2,250 hours in the Ceres Community Project kitchen. Working together, these remarkable young people prepared 17,300 meals for individuals and their families who are dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses. Nearly 100 adults helped harvest food, deliver meals, mentor our teen chefs and support our clients.

How to Help:
Order their products online, then pick them up at their kitchen on 330 S. Main Street in Sebastopol.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Margaret Howe at or by calling 707·829·5833 extension 2. The next volunteer orientation will be on December 15th 5:30-6:30pm.

Financial donations can be made by sending a check to
PO Box 1562
Sebastopol CA 95473
by using the PayPal link at or by calling 707·829·5833.

Contact Info:
330 S. Main Street
Sebastopol CA 95472

Interchurch Food Pantry
The Interchurch Food Pantry is located at the head of the St. Stephen's parking lot. The Pantry is open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 AM to Noon. Please call ahead to arrange to pick up a food box.
The Pantry serves local families and individuals who may receive one box per month.

Contact Info:
500 Robinson Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 823-3281
Pantry:707- 823-2483

Farm to Pantry
Farm to Pantry is a community of volunteers dedicated to providing fresh, healthy and affordable food to everyone. We live and glean in Sonoma County, California, where there is a growing community of farmers, gardeners, and residents dedicated to ensuring fresh and healthy food for everyone.

Garden to Pantry – Plant a garden and offer to donate any portion of your harvest to a local food pantry, shelter or soup kitchen and we will provide you with guidance, advice, and gleaning help should you need it.

Market to Pantry – At the end of the day at the Farmers’ Market, we collect unsold, surplus produce and deliver it to the local food pantry. We also happily accept donations of fresh produce --- purchased at the Farmers’ Market or home-grown.

How to Help:
Join our Gleaning Team. We glean wherever there is healthy, fresh produce to be harvested in Sonoma County. Volunteers receive an email from us when there is a gleaning opportunity in their area, typically once a week for two to three hours

Volunteer your farm, garden, orchard, or tree to be gleaned. Let us know as soon as possible that you expect to have extra fruit or vegetables and we will schedule a time for our volunteers to come to you, pick the surplus produce and then deliver it to a local food pantry for distribution to families in need.

Contact Info: to volunteer
Melita Love - Volunteer and Founder:
Rosemary Rasori - Volunteer and Project Leader:
Cathy Wilson - Volunteer and Gleaning:

Food for Thought
Food For Thought offers comprehensive nutritional services to more than 635 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County.

We provide:
* confidentiality
* weekly groceries
* fresh produce
* vitamins and nutritional supplements
* canned liquid protein supplements (with your doctor’s request)
* frozen meals for the very ill (with your doctor’s request)
* nutritional counseling
* cooking and nutrition classes
* support groups
* social gatherings
* delivery for the homebound
* additional food for families with dependent children
* services in English and Spanish ((Para información en español por favor llame a Erik Orav al 707-887-1647)

Contact Info:
For more information, or to apply for services, contact Rachel Gardner, Client Services Manager, at 707-887-1647,, P.O. Box 1608, Forestville, CA 95436, or stop by the food bank at 6550 Railroad Avenue in lovely downtown Forestville.
6550 Railroad Ave.,
between First and Forestville Streets
Forestville, California
Mail: P.O. Box 1608, Forestville, CA 95436
Office: (707) 887-1647
Fax: (707) 887-1440
Para información en español por favor llame a Erik Orav al 707-887-1647

Windsor Service Alliance - NEW LISTING

Food Pantry. We now have served over 10,000 Families and Seniors since our inception. On a weekly basis we have between 80-100 seniors and families coming to our doors on Friday. Seniors arrive from 2 to 2:30pm followed by Families from 2:30 to 4:00pm. We ask if it is your first time, please come after 3:00pm. Please bring a photo ID and Proof of Residency when you come.

8987 Windsor Road (Corner of Windsor River Road and Windsor Road)

Windsor Service Alliance
P.O. Box 138
Windsor, CA 95492
Phone Number:(707) 838-6947

E-mail Us:

Hours of operation:
Fridays: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The Windsor Service Alliance provides temporary assistance and referral to local residents at their request and will establish a central location for the collection and dissemination of goods, services and information to match their needs. WSA will advocate for those in need through liaison with city, county, state, federal and local agencies, both public and private, and by raising the level of community awareness of, sensitivity to, and participation in the long term resolution of these issues.

Each week the WSA food pantry provides food for Windsor families and senior citizens. The WSA also has an Assistance Program whose goal is to reach those in need of monetary assistance with rent, bills, etcetera on a one time basis. The WSA has a GAS Voucher program designed to help those who may be stranded and need help with fuel.

The WSA relies on volunteers to implement their programs, particularly the food pantry.

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