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Noozhawk 2011

FoodbankRepresentatives of local companies participating in the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s Corporate Food & Funds Drive Challenge include, from left back row, Susan Rodriguez, Heather Lahr, Ariana Arcenas-Utley, Erin Ervin, Sheela Hunt, Taylor Lindberg and Michele Talkington; from left front row: Kristine Wood, Sarah Clark, Tori Dahl and Melissa Howard. (Foodbank of Santa Barbara County photo)

The competitive spirit surrounding the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s annual Corporate Food & Funds Drive Challenge gets more palpable every year. The Corporate Challenge, which recently kicked off, goes through Dec. 31 and is a friendly competition among local businesses to collect the most points for donated food, funds and volunteer hours — all benefiting those in need in Santa Barbara County.

The inaugural year kicked off with four companies participating in 2009. This year nine local companies including seasoned veterans like Citrix, Deckers Outdoor Corp., Ergomotion, Network Hardware Resale and Yardi Systems along with fierce new contenders Brown & Brown Insurance, Cox, Fidelity National Title and Chicago Title and Village Properties, join forces to help the Foodbank and compete for the 2013 title.

Last year, Network Hardware Resale secured its win with a donation of 19,000 pounds of Satsuma seedless mandarin oranges. The fruit was harvested by employees volunteering at the home of company founder Chuck Sheldon and his wife, Missy. NHR has participated since the inception of the Corporate Challenge in 2009 and look forward once again to participating this year.

“Everyone who is prospering in this economy feels a need to give a little back. This is true at Network Hardware Resale,” Sheldon said. “Businesses given an opportunity should respond to volunteerism because it makes people feel good.”

Two-time winner Deckers Outdoor Corp. captured the title in the inaugural year 2009 and in 2011.

“We’re thrilled to participate in the Holiday Food & Funds Challenge again this year,” said Angel Martinez, president and CEO at Deckers Outdoor Corp. “The drive became a seasonal ritual after Deckers won the inaugural challenge in 2009, and each year we’ve expanded our promotion of the challenge to our employees to meet increased local needs and to match the stiff competition of other participating organizations.”

“Foodbank applauds the dedication of our local business community, who continue to serve and enhance our region through their time, talent and support,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank. “These efforts are especially appreciated during this time when our nonprofit partners are being stretched more than ever. These businesses will help us help those in our community in need of nourishment and some holiday cheer.”

A point system is designed with an employee ratio to ensure that organizations of all sizes can compete equally. Last year, a total of 24,499 pounds of food, 264 hours of service and $42,033.38 were raised for Foodbank, which enabled it to distribute needed resources to their network of 300 nonprofits and programs during the holiday season.

The 2013 Corporate Challenge runs through late December, and there are many ways for other members of the community to participate.

Individuals can establish their own Food & Funds Drive or can drop off nonperishable food at both the Santa Barbara and the Santa Maria Foodbank warehouses, Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participate in the virtual food drive online, which lets people shop and make a donation to the Foodbank, by clicking here.


— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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