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Placer Food Bank urges businesses to host canned food drives

Ultra-runner will run California International Marathon twice to solicit food donations
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Although people go hungry year-round, the holiday season is a critical time for the Placer Food Bank to stock their warehouse shelves with as much food as possible.

People are more likely to donate during the holidays, host canned food drives and volunteer their time to feed the hungry. So the local food bank stockpiles now so they can dip into reserves later, said Executive Director Dave Martinez.

“We really encourage more local businesses to help us with food drives during the holidays,” Martinez said. “Our food bank is really driven by donations.”

The bulk of the food comes on an ongoing basis from grocery chains, such as Raley’s, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods Market. But most of these products are perishable.

Placer Food Bank needs more soups, canned fruits and vegetables, pastas, cereal and protein in the form of tuna and peanut butter.

“It’s a rarity to get our hands on canned food items,” Martinez said. “Once the holiday season is over, we run into this dry spell in the spring and summer months.”

Last year, the nonprofit organization collected 50,000 pounds from food drives. So far in 2011, they’ve seen a 20 percent decrease in donations.

“Food donations are coming in a little bit slower than we’re used to,” Martinez said.

Ultra-runner Chris Waters will do his part to help. The 32-year-old leads the CIM Squared Project.

A few years ago, a running friend of Waters suggested they run the California International Marathon twice — for a total of 52 miles.

“I thought that was a fantastic idea,” said Waters, who works in Roseville.

He uses the run to solicit canned food donations, first for Elk Grove Food Bank Services and now for the Placer Food Bank.

Waters and his running mates start the marathon at 1:30 a.m., in chilly weather, and run from the race’s end to the start and back again. This year’s event takes place Dec. 4.

Waters’ goal is to collect 5,000 pounds of canned food at local drop-off points in Roseville. So far, his group has received about 1,500 pounds.

“I firmly believe in what (food banks) stand for,” Waters said. “I believe to be successful there are certain needs that need to be met, food being the most basic need.”

Thirteen years ago, Waters was doing drugs and not making “great choices” he said. Community-based services helped him get his life together. He’s since completed college, bought a house, got married and is raising a daughter.

Waters would not be where he is today without help, he said. Now he wants to extend a helping hand to others.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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To hold a food drive at your business or school, call the Placer Food Bank at (916) 783-0481 or visit www.placerfoodbank.org.

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CIM Squared Project food drop-off locations
Placer Insurance Agency
5 Sierra Gate Plaza, second floor, in Roseville
(916) 784-1008

New Balance
1198 Roseville Parkway, Suite 105 in The Fountains, in Roseville
(916) 773-7463
15 percent discount for customers who donate food for the project