Nonprofit Honored by Jordan Cunningham

SAN LUIS OBISPO — SLO Food Bank was selected as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year by California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) and Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham.

The SLO Food Bank is one of over 100 nonprofits that will be honored by their state senators and assemblymembers for their contributions to the communities they serve.

The SLO Food Bank believes everyone has the right to nutritious food. With reliable access to wholesome food, the Food Bank says people are all healthier, happier, and more productive community members. Their mission is to work with a network of community partners to alleviate hunger in San Luis Obispo County and build a stronger community. It was discovered that the rate of hunger has more than doubled in SLO County, with some people finding themselves in need of assistance for the first time in their lives. 

“On behalf of our entire family — our hard-working team, dedicated volunteers, allied nonprofits, and amazing network of supporters — we are incredibly honored with this recognition,” shares Garret Olson, CEO of SLO Food Bank. “This has been a defining moment in our history and a year of challenge, unlike any other. We are tremendously thankful to Assemblyman Cunningham for highlighting how our SLO Food Bank family rose to meet this challenge. Understanding that recovery for the majority of our neighbors in need will be measured in years rather than months, we appreciate the continued support of our compassionate volunteers and supporters because we simply could not do this without you.”

In previous years, a proclamation of this magnitude would be celebrated in the state’s capital. However, with the current social distancing and safety guidelines in place, a smaller-scale celebration will be held at the SLO Food Bank warehouse, 1180 Kendall Rd., San Luis Obispo, on Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. with key officials and SLO Food Bank staff and Board of Directors. 

“The pandemic and shelter-in-place orders of the last few months have put nonprofits — usually hidden in plain sight — in the spotlight,” explains Jan Masaoka, CEO of CalNonprofits. “California Nonprofit of the Year is an opportunity for our elected officials to celebrate the good work they see nonprofits doing in their districts, and for everyone to appreciate the collective impact of nonprofits in our communities.”

For the last five years, legislators from across California have chosen a Nonprofit of the Year in their district. Traditionally, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector Assemblywoman Monique Limón (Santa Barbara) and CalNonprofits invited legislators and honorees to a celebratory luncheon on California Nonprofits Day. This year, the June luncheon was canceled in response to the Shelter-in-Place orders, but legislators have moved forward with honoring nonprofits doing great work in their districts. 

According to “Causes Count,” a 2019 report commissioned by CalNonprofits, the nonprofit sector is the fourth largest industry in the state, employing more than 1.2 million people. Each year, California nonprofits generate more than $273 billion in revenue and bring in $40 billion in revenue from outside of California. The unpaid labor contributed by volunteers at nonprofits is equivalent to 330,000 full-time jobs every year.

The SLO Food Bank is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, serving all of San Luis Obispo County through its direct food programs and network of agency partners. The SLO Food Bank distributes an average of 4 million pounds of food per year. Nearly half of the distributed food is fresh produce, including produce harvested locally by the GleanSLO program. To learn more about the work done by the SLO Food Bank throughout San Luis Obispo County, visit www.slofoodbank.org.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles