Inspired by our Youngest Generation

How far would you go to help those in need around you? What motivates you to give back to your community? Over the years, we have seen and heard many different reasons why someone decides to invest time, energy, and money to support the SLO Food Bank and its nonprofit Agency Partners. And more often than you might expect, this motivation is based on prior experience of hardship and food insecurity. These are the stories that touch our hearts profoundly and stick in our memories.

But what if you are so young that the reality of struggling with difficult times has not had a significant impact on you yet? What if your sole intention to help others originates from the simple desire to do good? It turns out that our youngest generation has a sheer unlimited capacity of creativity to provide hope to our neighbors in need. Combined with hard work, these selfless acts of kindness have brightened our days so many times, and that’s why we are so excited to share them with you collectively!

Without further ado, let us inspire you to give back to our community with stories of compassion – brought to you by children of SLO County!

Garden Newsletter
Last September, eleven-year-old Claire (pictured above) was the first to surprise us with her generosity. She and her friend Rachel produced a garden newsletter to sell sprouts, herbs, flowers, and more. Since then, Claire has returned several times with more donations, now totaling 12,453 meals to our community.

Sammy and his younger brother cleaned up leaves in their neighborhood to collect money for the SLO Food Bank.

Raking Leaves
In January, we received a note from seven-year-old Sammy who, with the help of his younger brother, cleaned up leaves in their neighbors’ yards. Sammy started a movement among our supporters that resulted in additional donations and a total of 5,263 meals to our community.

Garbage Service
In February, the three brothers Milo (nine years old), Logan (eleven years old) and Owen (seven years old) donated 50% of the money they raised from taking out and bringing back trash cans in their neighborhood. Their efforts provided 3,500 meals to our community.

Cookies and Birdfeeders
In May, eight-year-old Jordan and his sister sold cookies and birdfeeders to provide 490 meals to our community.

Pots to Plates Project
Six girls named Cielo, Aria, Yanelly, Yoselin, Giuliana, and Anabella, with ages nine to seventeen, have been replanting and selling succulents to collect donations to feed our neighbors in need. Many of the pots and plants were donated to the children by the community while other companies have stepped up to help promote their sales. All of this makes this an amazingly well community-supported project. On May 1, they conducted their Mother’s Day Sale at the SLO Food Bank warehouse. So far, they have been able to provide more than 20,000 meals to our community.

A special shout-out also goes to Aria Olsen for baking gluten-free Mexican wedding cookies and donating 100% of her bake sale to the SLO Food Bank, thus providing an additional 3,318 meals to our community.

Pictured here from left to right are Yanelly, Cielo, Yoselin, Giuliana and Aria.

Playing Music
In June, Awkward Silence, a SLO local band, performed a fundraising concert at the SLO Food Bank on Hunger Awareness Day. All proceeds were donated, so these amazing young men raised enough money to provide 5,999 nutritious meals for our community.

Lemonade Stand
Every year, Blake, Declan, Maddie and Owen run a lemonade stand to collect donations for charities. We first met them in August 2018 when they donated $45.97. This summer, they surprised us with another donation of $70.

Declan, Maddie, Owen and Blake sold lemonade to collect money for the SLO Food Bank.

Canned Goods Collection
At the end of the school year, Lena Wettlaufer (pictured here with her sister Stella) collected canned goods and donated them to the SLO Food Bank! The total of 54 pounds she collected was allocated to our onsite pantry. Lena is hoping to organize a bigger food drive next year when she is in 4th grade.

Lena and her sister Stella visited our food pantry for which they collected canned goods.

These many acts of kindness continue to fill our hearts with so much gratitude. Each one of these stories is a wonderful example of how great of an impact even the smallest effort can have. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many of our neighbors wondering where their next meal will come from, but our community stepped up to meet this increased need. Here at the SLO Food Bank, we have seen hunger in SLO County skyrocketing by 54%, and children account for approximately one-third of those we serve. Seeing children stepping up to help other children who are not as fortunate as they are, is the greatest miracle of all. Their selfless acts of kindness bring warm smiles to our faces, provides nutritious food to our neighbors in need, and inspires hope for the future these amazing young leaders will embrace.

– By Luise Gleason, Marketing & Communications Coordinator