For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrea E. Garcia, Touro University California
Associate Vice President, University Advancement

W: (707) 638-5272
C: (707) 704-6101
andrea.garcia@tu.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2020

Hundreds Served at Food Bank Distribution

Vallejo, Calif. (Sept 24, 2020): The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano participated in a first for the organization, Wednesday, with a drive thru produce giveaway for students, staff and faculty at Vallejo’s Touro University California.

Nearly a hundred vehicles passed through the giveaway station, set up in front of Lander Hall on the school’s Mare Island campus, with each vehicle being saddled with a collection of produce, including apples, citrus, potatoes, onions and more, as well as COVID-19 masks, guides on disaster planning, and – while supplies held out – packages of honey cakes in honor of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

Volunteers, each clad with facemasks and observing social distancing practices, tended to one specific aspect of the distribution event, leading to quick, efficient service.

All told, volunteers distributed over 600 pounds of produce through the event.

Paisley Rosengren, a learning specialist on campus, helped organize the event after surveying the student body and discovering that many students lived with food insecurity.

As Touro is a Judaic school, Rosengren had to do some legwork to ensure the giveaway event maintained the school’s Kosher dietary requirements, and she soon found out about Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s produce program.

The event also served as an important social opportunity. Many of the students who came through haven’t been on campus for any reason for months, and some have never seen their instructors in person.

“It’s great because they also get to see their deans, they get to see our Provost, they get to have that feeling of community,” Rosengren said.

James Lande, Agency Relations Coordinator with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, said the organization has hosted several drive thru distribution events but this was the first meant specifically for a university and its campus community.

Although there was a line of cars at one point that stretched a hundred yards or more, the vehicles moved through the distribution point with the efficiency of a NASCAR pit stop.

“The drive thru makes it really for people to come by quickly, it’s contactless so it’s safe, and then they can be on their way,” Lande said.

Provost and Chief Academic Officer Sarah Sweitzer was one of the first in the fire brigade line of volunteers assisting each car that passed through.

Sweitzer credited Rosengren with organizing the event but also lauded the volunteer efforts of the more than a dozen faculty and staff who helped with the event.

“We’re truly blessed to have amazing students and amazing faculty and staff,” Sweitzer said.

It was as pleasurable for the volunteers to be able to see the smiling faces of their students as it was for the students to come get the assistance they needed, she said.

The event fit perfectly into the school’s mission of To Serve, To Lead, To Teach, Sweitzer noted.

“This is it right here,” Sweitzer said. “Our mission statement is playing out right in front of us.”

The turnout and the volunteer effort were more than Rosengren was expecting.

“I don’t honestly know what I expected, but this is far beyond my expectations,” Rosengren said. “It fills my heart. I’m so happy right now.”

About the Touro College and University System:

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro has 35 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Illinois, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and Touro University Nevada; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: www.touro.edu/news