Every Child, Every Day

A child only has one chance to get a good start in life. Proper nutrition is the necessary foundation upon which children can develop physically and mentally and reach their full potential.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB), Sonoma County's largest hunger relief organization, works to ensure that Every Child, Every Day has the nutrition needed to thrive and grow up strong, healthy and ready to be a productive member of our community.

Food insecurity touches nearly one in five Sonoma County residents, including a disproportionate number of children. Our mission is To End Hunger in Our Community for all who are in need. We provide help to 70,000 of our neighbors each month, including 30,000 children, through a robust network of programs and partners that operate in neighborhoods throughout the county - Sonoma to Sebastopol, Petaluma to Cloverdale, and everyplace in between. Our food sustains seniors trying to maintain their health on fixed incomes, families struggling to make ends meet on low-wage jobs, and children whose ambitions and futures are made vulnerable by poor nutrition.

We could not accomplish our goals without the vision and generosity of organizations such as Speedway Children's Charities. They are a significant partner in our initiatives to provide vital nutrition assistance to children at risk of hunger and malnourishment. Their support over the last nine years has made it possible for the REFB to identify the gaps in service to vulnerable children from low-income families and to develop programs to address the need. With the support of SCC, we are making progress in building a nutrition safety that fills the gaps in services offered by government and school nutrition programs. Our children's programs provide critical assistance during pre-school years, over the weekend, after school and during school summer vacation.

One example is our Megan Furth Harvest Pantry. Several years ago, faced with the finding that there was an alarmingly high incidence of iron-deficiency anemia in Sonoma County's pre-school children, the REFB created a mobile pantry program. The Harvest Pantry truck travels weekly to low-income neighborhoods, distributing iron-rich produce and other healthy foods and providing a comprehensive series of lessons concerning anemia and good nutrition to the parents who are eager to learn how to keep their children healthy. One mother in Healdsburg found the nutrition lessons so important that she asked if she could continue coming to listen to the lessons even after her child turned six and aged out of the program. Through this program over 618 young children, on a weekly average, are receiving the nutrition they need and their parents are learning how important proper nutrition is to raising a healthy child.

The partnership of Speedway Children's Charities has been a vital component in the success of this program. Together we are working ensure a brighter, healthier future for the children of Sonoma County.