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Full Hearts And Bellies: An SBC Food Rescue Story #rethinkfood

CEC’s SBC Food Rescue program has been hard at work since the launch in April 2018, and to date has saved approximately 3,625 pounds of restaurant-quality food from going to the landfill. Instead, this food has gone to feed local community members at charitable nonprofits.

Diverting this food from landfills – where it breaks down into the highly potent greenhouse gas of methane – is something we feel great about at CEC. Yet it’s a victory that is made sweeter still by the stories that are coming in from those participating in the network.

One of these stories comes from a partnership between the local nonprofit Sarah House and the catering service Pure Joy. Sarah House provides end-of-life care for people of low income, and their staff does everything from attending to medical needs to cooking meals.

Filling Bellies and Hearts at Sarah House

In the email exchange below, Paloma Espinosa, Sarah House’s Manager, shares what a profound impact receiving food has had for their staff and residents with Julia Blanton, CEC’s Food Rescue Program Coordinator and Lynee Bennett, Pure Joy’s Manager.

“Dear Lynee and Julia,

The meals this group has been able to savor have been incredible!  I am not sure you understand how wonderful it is to sit at a table, smell the delicious aroma of vegetables, tri-tip, chicken, or what has become one for the records, that delicious salmon!

It isn’t only that you are feeding bellies, the meals create in our home a richness that goes beyond the food. We sit and talk about the taste, we talk about what event we imagine would order this food, we talk about how we think it was cooked, what ask one another what ingredients we taste. It opens up our senses, our imagination, and conversation.

That night we had the salmon, we also had two amazing volunteers, who talked about how on their first date they had salmon at a wonderful restaurant. They told their love story and we all sat there so happy to hear of how they had come together. At the end of the meal, one of our residents said, “Well, who knew salmon could bring so much joy to the table!

Her words are right on the spot, both of you ladies have brought JOY to this group here at Sarah House!

From our full hearts and bellies we want to say thank you for nourishing the souls and bellies of our residents, family members, volunteers, and staff.

With gratitude,

Paloma and the Sarah House family”

Doing Something Right at Pure Joy

In turn, Lynee shares the benefits that Pure Joy receives from the exchange.

Thank you so much for this extremely special email. I passed it on to others at Pure Joy and it was unanimous. Everyone got a little teary-eyed. It was such a lovely story about the volunteers. Knowing we’re helping to provide that kind of joy around your table is what we’re all about. To give that sort of joy to anyone’s last number of months is really heartwarming.

>And everything you said regarding Julia, we completely agree. This has been such a wonderful experience. Every week that we get to donate food, I feel like I did something right. Plus Robert is a joy when he comes to pick up the food. He’s such a lovely person.

Thank you again!!!”

Planting Amazing Seeds

Lynee continued on to share a note with Julia about the broader impact of SBC Food Rescue, warming our hearts at CEC.


It is hard to find the right words to describe this wonderful thing you are doing, not just for Sarah House, but for so many others that are receiving a meal. I am certain that the giver is just as fulfilled as the receiver, if not perhaps even more.

You have found a way to protect those that have always wanted to give, but were concerned with finding themselves in a problem for just doing something good – feeding someone. Thank you for this great service. You are planting some amazing seeds Julia, and touching many more people than you perhaps ever thought you would.”

Helping SBC Food Rescue Grow

This is just one of many stories that are beginning to accumulate, and there are so many more yet to even begin. CEC is actively working to build this network of donors, recipients and delivery services. To learn more, sign up, or refer a new member to the network, visit or contact Julia Blanton at [email protected] or (805)963-0583 Ext 104.

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