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Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

Community Partner Spotlight, March 2011

service learning Nursing student facilitating "mother baby" training

Although Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) has offered food assistance since 1976, combating hunger is only one of the many ways this organization contributes to the community.  SFBFS helps “those in need with the resources to move towards self-sufficiency and financial independence.”  This mission is fulfilled through eight diverse programs and services at no cost to individuals.

SFBFS relies on thousands of volunteers to make fulfilling its mission possible.  Sacramento State students participating in Service Learning have given SFBFS a “fresh perspective” claims Communication and Development Director, Kelly Siefkin, and have made a profound difference in the organization by helping to develop learning programs, workshops, classes, tools and multi-lingual resources that are now implemented on a daily basis at SFBFS.  

Currently, Nursing, Marketing, Education, Family & Consumer Sciences, Social Work, and Child Development courses have ongoing service learning collaborations with the organization. SFBFS Volunteer Services Manager, Robin Simpson, finds that Sacramento State students bring knowledge that general volunteers don’t often possess, and regularly utilize what they’ve learned in the classroom. Simpson believes the impact Sac State students have on the program is huge and states SFBFS “program managers are always asking for Sac State students.”

Alternative Break student volunteers assist with mobile food distribution.Sacramento State students also regularly volunteer with SFBFS outside of the classroom.  Typically during winter and spring academic semester breaks, Alternative Break student volunteers help sort donations, organize the clothes closet, or distribute emergency groceries at a mobile food distribution site in the county.

Siefkin hopes that SFBFS provides value to students in return, beyond learning a little more about the community. SFBFS provides an enriched education for Sacramento State service learning students, fosters a sense of individual accomplishment, and provides opportunities to develop leadership skills, compassion, and knowledge through service experiences.

Many Sac State alumni who started as volunteers and interns have advanced to serve in professional capacities with the organization, including the following staff:

  • Jeremiah Rhine, Chief Operating Officer – Sociology 2004
  • Helen Plenert , Women’s Wisdom Art Program Manager – Fine Art 1976
  • Aurelia Garcia , PlayCare & Youth Academy Programs Manager - Social Work, minor in Child Development 2001/ Graduate degree – School Counseling 2008
  • Bonnie Hilarides, Women’s Wisdom Art teacher – Fine Art 2006
  • Angelique Keys, Resource Coordinator – Criminal Justice 2008

Contributed in part by KT. Aquino


Each year, more than two thousand Sacramento State students, faculty, staff, and alumni participate in programs and projects sponsored by Community Engagement Center. Programs such as Alternative Break, AmeriCorps Students in Service, Sac State Serves, and Service Learning fulfill our mission to facilitate learning and engagement by linking campus and community for mutual benefit. Through Spotlight, Community Engagement Center will highlight outstanding individuals and programs advancing community engagement in the Sacramento region.

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last updated: 7/12/2011