Stir the creative juices that flow within Alameda County's 9,000-plus employee workforce, mix in some friendly competition among eight County departments, add a healthy splash of holiday spirit and what do you get?
Alameda County's first-ever Stone Soup Holiday Food Drive and Design Competition, which culminated in November with some inspired displays made entirely with boxes and cans of non-perishable food. The imaginative creations included a Bay Bridge montage, a computer work station and a 3-D depiction of Alameda County with landmarks such as Mission Peak and the Altamont windmills – were created with 10,000 pounds – or 5 tons – of edibles donated by County employees in time for the holidays. The total donations mark a more than 3-fold increase over last year's total.
The Stone Soup competition is a new spin on what is an annual rite for Alameda County – a holiday food drive in which County employees pitch in to help the families in need through donations of food and cash to Alameda County Community Food Bank.
But by injecting friendly competition and new levels of inspiration into the tradition – Alameda County has more than tripled its usual donations of food, and raised about $4,000 in cash as well. The Food Bank can distribute $4 of food for every $1 in cash that is donated.
"The level of creativity, determination and community spirit shown by our County employees is thrilling to behold," said Susan S. Muranishi, County Administrator. "Not only have they brought in record numbers of donations through this effort, they also have created some powerful displays that drive home the message about hunger right here in our community."
Each year at this time County employees are reminded to pitch in by contributing healthy, non-perishable food items to the signature red Food Bank barrels that are set up in most County buildings. The effort usually nets about 3,000 pounds of donated food as well as cash – as does a similar food drive the County conducts in the summer months. Each effort supports the Alameda County Community Food Bank in its mission to put food on the tables of children and adults struggling with the burden of hunger.
"This project demonstrates the strong ties between County departments, County employees, community organizations and the community that we serve," said Keith Carson, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. "At a time when many individuals and families are still struggling to put food on the table, County employees have responded by increasing their commitment to combating hunger through the annual Holiday Food Drive."
The Alameda County Community Food Bank will gladly accept donations through the holidays and beyond to help the less fortunate in our community. To donate, go to: Alameda County Community Food Bank.