Outreach in our Community

We understand the barriers to engaging in healthy behaviors, including various social determinants. By providing access to fresh produce and nutritious food options at each distribution site, we help build a healthier, hunger-free community.

Not all members of our community have the same needs, which is why the SLO Food Bank has various programs that utilize creative methods to distribute a multitude of food items to those in need. We work to empower community members to make healthy dietary choices by providing them with appropriate food items tailored to meet their needs.

Children’s Farmers Markets

This program creates a Farmers Market environment for kids, allowing them to select from a variety of fruits and vegetables to take home to share with their families. Children are given “Food Bank Bucks” to simulate a shopping experience. Participants take home 10 to 15 pounds of fresh, seasonal produce items, such as: potatoes, apples, oranges, cabbage, squash, pears and lettuce.

Additionally, children are sent home with produce recipe cards and participate in accompanying nutrition education activities.

No-Cook Bags for People Experiencing Homelessness

Those without secure housing do not have access to the tools and appliances needed to prepare many of the foods commonly supplied through our regular distribution programs. To address these challenges, the SLO Food Bank worked with different community partners and local sponsors to begin the No-Cook Bags Program. No-Cook Bags are curated to meet the dietary needs of this program’s target participants using easy-to-eat foods such as shelf-stable tuna or chicken salad kits, applesauce, yogurt, dried fruits, cereal bars, and more.

Our dedicated volunteers assemble the No-Cook Bags at our warehouse, and then the bags are picked up by over 50 different nonprofits, government agencies, and outreach groups for distribution. These groups will then give out these bags to those they meet during their outreach efforts and community services. Not only do the No-Cook Bags provide valuable nutrition to their recipients, but they also act as a valuable tool to build and foster relationships with people that are often reluctant to engage in services otherwise.

Senior Farmers Markets

As we age, fruit and vegetables are vital for maintaining health, but many older Americans do not consume enough on a regular basis. Seniors living on a limited or fixed income often have to choose between basic needs (housing, medical bills, etc.) or purchasing healthy food. This financial barrier may also be compounded by a lack of transportation or mobility. In cooperation with local housing complexes and mobile home parks, we are ensuring that low-income seniors have monthly access to a variety of fresh produce at a Senior Farmers Markets easily accessible for them. In addition, these markets have become a regular community event where residents check in with each other and organize community meals with produce from the market.

Breakfast Bags

While school is out or not fully in session, daily access to free meals is limited or nonexistent, and many parents struggle to provide meals for their families. Our Breakfast Bags help close this hunger gap. Each bag provides multiple weeks’ worth of nutritious breakfast foods, including cereal bars, instant oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter, milk, and canned and dried fruit. In partnership with youth organizations, school districts, local housing authorities, and other social service organizations, we typically distribute the bags to children in SLO County’s highest need areas during June, July, and August (while school is out for the summer).

Nutrition Education

SLO Food Bank’s Nutrition Education team empowers people to make healthy choices in their everyday lives through outreach and education at program sites, community partner sites, and community events. This program aims to:

  • Improve community members’ contextual skills in the kitchen, therefore increasing the likelihood of preparing more meals in the home using fresh produce and nutritious ingredients.
  • Improve community members’ awareness of food access programs.
  • Empower community members to engage in healthier behaviors, leading to more overall positive health outcomes in order to improve their physical, social and emotional well-being.

For recipes and other nutrition-related materials, visit our Recipes and Resources Page.

SLO County Food System Coalition

The San Luis Obispo Food System Coalition is a collaborative organization bringing together stakeholders from broad and often conflicting perspectives for the purpose of discovering shared interests, common goals, and mutually agreed action plans that serve the common good and provide for low-income persons who do not have access on a regular basis to nutritious food. Click here to learn more.

If you belong to an organization that you believe should be represented in the Food System Coalition, please contact us. Meetings are held quarterly, with the Administrative Committee meeting one additional time each quarter and work groups based upon our goals meeting as necessary.

Partnership Interest Form

Any nonprofits, schools, social service groups, or other charitable organizations interested in hosting or distributing food or other SLO Food Bank resources are strongly encouraged to complete and submit the following form:

    Thank you for your interest in hosting one or more of the SLO Food Bank's community food programs. The appropriate SLO Food Bank representative will be in touch shortly.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.