Santa Barbara, CA. (July 2016) – On Thursday, July 28th , the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s longest-serving employee, Fred Smith, will be retiring after nearly 27 years of service at the organization. The Foodbank will honor Smith for his outstanding service and commitment to the organization at their annual summer celebration on Friday, July 29.
A native to Santa Barbara, Fred spent several decades working in the local grocery industry before he started volunteering for the Foodbank in 1990. After several years of volunteering at the Foodbank, Fred began working as a warehouse employee and driver, often leaving for work at 3:00 am to pick up food donations from donors as far away as Stockton. Before the Foodbank had a warehouse in Santa Maria, Fred began a program that shuttled food from the Santa Barbara warehouse to churches and nonprofits throughout the Santa Maria Valley.
“We’ve expanded a lot,” Fred noted, saying that services have quadrupled since he started with the Foodbank. “We were able to make this more efficient,” but says he would “like to see the Foodbank get a warehouse in Santa Barbara comparable to Santa Maria, to give us ability to store things better and reach more people who need help. We’ve basically had the same amount of space in Santa Barbara since I started.”
Throughout his years of service Fred also worked as food solicitor, warehouse assistant, and warehouse manager, and has driven more than 300,000 miles, picking up vital donations for the Foodbank. He has become one of the most recognizable faces at the Santa Barbara Foodbank, known for being as straight talker who’s always eager to help. “I have thoroughly enjoyed all of this, especially the driving,” said Fred.
“The Foodbank is honored to recognize Fred for his many years of service to the Foodbank,” said Erik Talkin, CEO, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “It’s because of great loyalty and dedication like his that make the Foodbank such a strong organization, enabling us to continue to serve the people that need us the most, and build a food secure community.”
About Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is transforming the health of Santa Barbara County by eliminating hunger and food insecurity through good nutrition and food literacy. The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through its award-winning programs and a network of over 300 member non-profit partners. In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive food support from the Foodbank; over 146,198 unduplicated people of whom nearly 35% are children. Last year, the Foodbank distributed 9.7 million pounds of food — half of which was fresh produce. For more information, visit www.foodbanksbc.org.