Redwood Empire Food Bank

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Redwood Empire Food Bank
REFB Santa Rosa.jpg
Founded 1991
Area served
Sonoma County
Lake County
Mendocino County
Humboldt County
Del Norte County
Products Food
Services Food bank
Food distribution
Method Food banks
Food distribution
Key people
David Goodman, Executive Director
Affiliations Feeding America
$22,606,187 (2010-2011)
Expenses $21,684,447 (2010-2011)
Mission "To end hunger in our community"

Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) is a food bank on the North Coast of California which belongs to the Feeding America network. Its mission is to end hunger in its community.

Founded in 1987, REFB is Sonoma County's largest hunger-relief organization, serving 133 charitable organizations, including emergency food pantries/closets, shelters and dining rooms, childcare centers/youth programs, group homes, and disaster relief agencies. Seniors, children, and working families come to food distributions seeking supplemental groceries.

REFB acquires food and distributes it through a network of charitable agencies and its own food assistance programs and also provides food to Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte Counties through smaller food banks. In addition, the REFB advocates for legislation to provide long-term solutions to hunger in its community.


During fiscal year 2007-2008, REFB distributed 10,750,000 pounds (4,880,000 kg) of food, the equivalent of 8.4 million meals, or 23,000 per day. A January 2010 report estimated that REFB was providing emergency food for over 110,000 different people annually, and that in any given week about 26,000 different people were receiving emergency food assistance.[2] In late 2010, REFB was serving 78,000 monthly meals, an increase of more than 11 percent over 2009.[3]


Food collection and distribution[edit]

The Agency Shopping Program provides food to 133 member charities that operate 22 programs serving people in need. REFB also operates its own programs: Child's Portion, Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for children and seniors, Senior Brown Bag, Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) for people of any age, Community Pantry Network, Backpack Program, and the Every Child, Every Day - Summer Hunger Initiative. The newest program of the REFB is The Megan Furth Harvest Pantry, which delivers nutritious food and education to hungry and anemic children.

The food bank's 2007 holiday food drive set a goal to collect 200,000 pounds (90,000 kg) of food and $160,000.[4]


The REFB is also conducting a pilot project to address the needs of low-income seniors living with diabetes, the Senior Diabetes Wellness Project.

In 2012, REFB began implementing a three-year, $800,000 project, funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, to address type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Wellness Project provides food and educational materials to individuals, and conducts screenings. Much of the project is being done in partnership with Sonoma County healthcare providers.[5]

2013 expansion[edit]

In September 2011, REFB purchased a 60,000-square-foot building near the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport for $5 million. It plans to open the building after investing $2.5 million in renovations and improvements, including a 5,000-square-foot freezer and cooler, warehouse racking, truck docks and offices. Also planned is a “value marketplace” outlet store for low-income families.[6]

The building groundbreaking celebration was in October 2012.[7] The new building is three times the size of the building that REFB had occupied since 1998, and is expected to open in early 2013.[8] The building will also replace three building spaces that REFB was renting.[9]

Sources of donated food[edit]

The food bank distributes nearly $4.00 (wholesale value) worth of food for every $1 it spends.[10]

  • 13% from local food companies, farmers, retailers, and food drives
  • 87% through regional collaborations and Feeding America's national network of food banks

In December 1998, Yoko Ono donated more than 33,000 pounds of in honor of her late husband, musician John Lennon.[11]


Over 5,000 individuals volunteered 70,000 hours in 2007-2008, packing and sorting food, doing clerical tasks, driving trucks to pick up and deliver food, participating in special projects such as food drives and special events, and sharing their technological expertise. These volunteers filled the equivalent of more than 33 full-time staff positions.


Organized as a 501(c)(3) Public Charity, the food bank reported total revenue of over $12 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. Of this, less than $390,000 came from government grants.[12]

  • individuals (42%)
  • government grants (less than 18%)
  • community events and drives (10%)
  • foundations (12%)
  • business and community groups (7%)

Member agencies contribute toward the cost of transporting and handling the food through shared maintenance fees for some of the food they select, which contribute nearly 10% of REFB's budget.


  1. ^ "Redwood Empire Food Bank". Guidestar. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Hunger in America 2010: Local Report Prepared for The Redwood Empire Food Bank, Final Report" (PDF). Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. January 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  3. ^ Pat Wyman (December 18, 2010). "Does the Food Pantry and Redwood Empire Food Bank Have Increased Need This Year?". Healdsburg Patch. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  4. ^ Laura Norton (November 1, 2007). "Food bank strives for record goal: Redwood Empire kicks off annual drive". Press Democrat. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  5. ^ Miriam Hodgman (September 7, 2012). "Redwood Empire Food Bank's Project Helps Those Hardest Hit by Diabetes". Sonoma County Gazette. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  6. ^ Jeff Quackenbush (September 9, 2011). "Redwood Empire Food Bank plans $9 million expansion; New building to save $19 million in rent". North Bay Business Journal. 
  7. ^ "The Redwood Empire Food Bank's Groundbreaking Celebration". Press Democrat. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  8. ^ Gary Quackenbush (May 7, 2012). "Food bank expects to open new building in January". North Bay Business Journal. 
  9. ^ Lois Pearlman (November 18, 2011). "Feeding Petaluma's hungry8,000 residents would go hungry without Redwood Empire Food Bank". Argus-Courier. 
  10. ^ "Fact sheet". Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  11. ^ "Bay Area Datelines". San Francisco Chronicle. December 10, 1998. 
  12. ^ "GuideStart report". Retrieved 2007-06-25. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°30′50″N 122°47′33″W / 38.5139°N 122.7926°W / 38.5139; -122.7926