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Santa Barbara Foodbank gets a generous donation from Bank of America

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KEYT) -- Foodbank of Santa Barbara County provides 800,000 meals thanks to a generous donation from Bank of America.

A COVID-19 employee booster initiative to help fight hunger across Santa Barbara County.

Before the pandemic, the food insecurity rate for Santa Barbara County was 9.2%, on par with a national rate of 10.5%.

As the pandemic continues, however, hunger relief organizations in Santa Barbara County and across the country face ongoing challenges such as increased demand for their services due to rising food prices.

Bank of America is supporting its employees’ health and safety while addressing one of the local communities’ most critical needs.

As its very first initiative in the new year, the company announced it would make a $100 donation to local hunger relief organizations for each employee in Santa Barbara who received a COVID-19 booster shot by the end of January. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has distributed over 30 million pounds of food to more than 200,000 individuals.

For every $1 donated, the organization can provide 8 meals to the community. With help from the bank’s donation, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will provide 800,000 of meals to individuals and families throughout Santa Barbara County. 

“The Foodbank is thrilled to receive such a generous grant from Bank of America, a longtime partner in ensuring access to healthy food in our community,” explained Alex Varner, development associate and corporate giving liaison for the Foodbank. “We’ll be able to leverage the gift to make a profound impact on hunger locally with volume purchasing, relationships with growers, distributors and producers, and being part of state and nationwide food banking networks.”

In addition to philanthropic capital, Bank of America also donated nearly 30,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves and bottles of hand sanitizer to organizations helping with local hunger relief to distribute to those in need.

Since the start of the pandemic, Bank of America has provided more than $85,000 in grants and funding to organizations in Santa Barbara County to help with hunger relief efforts. 

“As the pandemic continues to impact Santa Barbara County, food banks and hunger relief organizations are experiencing increased demand and higher costs to meet the needs of individuals and families,” said Midge Campbell-Thomas, President, Bank of America Santa Barbara and Ventura. “Our commitment to help strengthen the communities we live in and serve is unwavering, which is why we are investing in the health, safety and wellbeing of our teammates while also providing funds to help local organizations support our neighbors and fight food insecurity.”

The company has encouraged its employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations since summer 2021, offering incentives such as paid time-off and $500 credits towards health benefit premiums.

In partnership with local nonprofits, Bank of America has also distributed more than 38 million masks, 41,000 cases of hand sanitizer and 11 million gloves nationwide as part of its ongoing efforts to address health-related disparities accelerated by the pandemic. 

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Janete Weinstein

Janete Weinstein is a multimedia journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Janete, click here.


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