FAIRFIELD — It’s on between Solano and Contra Costa counties, and all for the good of the region’s needy.
The two county governments are holding the ninth annual “food fight” among their employees. Employees will compete to see which county can raise the most money for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano by Dec. 31.
Residents can also get involved. They can go to the food bank website at www.foodbankccs.org, make a donation and click “Friend of Solano County.”
But resident contributions go only toward an unofficial tally between the two counties. The total used to see which county gets to keep the “Big Apple” trophy for a year comes strictly from county employees.
Contra Costa County has won five of the eight competitions and is the defending champion. It won last year by contributing $9.91 per employee, compared to $8.11 per Solano County employee. The two counties combined to raise more than $116,000.
The nine-year running total could reach a milestone during the 2012 food fight.
“This year we could pass $1 million from the employees of Contra Costa and Solano,” food bank Executive Director Larry Sly told the Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
About 43,000 Solano County residents each month get served by the food bank. This compares to 30,000 residents in 2007, before the recession hit.
“The downside is we need to continue doing this because the number of people we’re serving continues to rise,” Sly told supervisors.
On the plus side, the food bank has been able to dramatically increase the amount of food it distributes, he said. A new program will debut in Solano County during 2013 to push the amount still higher, he said. This involves using a truck to distribute fresh produce, he said.
Solano County supervisors had no words of bravado about taking on Contra Costa County. Instead, they voted quietly, quickly and unanimously to accept this year’s challenge. Contra Costa County issued the first challenge in 2004.
The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano began in 1994, merging food banks between the two counties. It delivers food to locations in Solano County cities, as well as provides food to food pantries, soup kitchens, senior and child care centers and group homes, a county report said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.