25 years of service and counting!
Dave Bratz is one of the most beloved and dedicated members of the Food Share family. He’s served Food Share for 25 years, as both a volunteer and a former member of the Board of Directors.
“You meet nice people when you volunteer,” says Dave Bratz, who would certainly know this after 25 years volunteering at Food Share. Dave first became involved in 1995, shortly after retiring, when he started helping on the rescue food sorting line, boxing canned foods donated by the community. Dave then spent several years doing the daily “bread run” – setting off at 6am to collect surplus bread from food retailers across the county. “There was a lot more bread to collect back then,” he notes. “Sometimes there would be so much we couldn’t fit it all into the truck!”
A former electrical engineer, Dave also spotted other areas of the organization that could use his time and skills. He joined the Board of Directors in 2000, serving for eight years, during which time he made two huge contributions to Food Share’s operations. The first was to conduct an electrical power survey of Food Share’s premises and install a generator to keep operations running in the event of a power outage. “Organizations like Food Share have to keep going even in times of disaster, so it’s critical that there’s no loss of power,” he explains.
The second transformative contribution was to the food sorting process. From personal experience, Dave knew how back breaking and time consuming it was sorting hundreds of cans of donated food without a mechanized process. He found a conveyor belt contractor to fabricate a system of belts and then personally designed and adapted them to meet the exact requirements for food sorting. The system is still in place and appreciated by everyone, particularly Stevess Thomson, Food Rescue Sorting Lead, who describes Dave simply as “the man who made everyone’s lives easier.”
For Dave, spending time working for the benefit of others is a way of life. “It’s my way of giving back to society,” he says. “We all have to do the best we can. That’s all we can do.” While Dave has certainly met a lot of nice people along the way, we can’t think of a nicer person to congratulate for 25 years of service! Thank you so much for everything!
Talented teens give back!
We are so proud and inspired by the numerous young people who have given their time and talents to help those in need in the past year. Here are just a few of the many who have used their passion, vision and creativity to serve our community. You rock!
“I have been baking since sixth grade, but my passion grew during quarantine. I started this business because I wanted to share my baked goods with more people besides just friends and family. I’ve sold more than 5000 cookies in less than three months. I love to bake because it’s very relaxing and an opportunity for me to be creative. But most of all, I love to bake because you can’t beat the smile on someone’s face when you hand them baked goods! Foodshare is a great way to support my local community. I enjoy working with the people at Foodshare. They’re all so kind and giving!”
Maddie has been donating the funds generated by her baking talents to support Food Share. What a delicious way to spread love and hope to our community in need!
The Rusty Sailor Robotics team at Cabrillo Middle School used their awesome engineering skills to build a CAN-tree robot AND raise $2,430 in funds!
Lucas, Tommy, Vinny, Darwin and Summer aka NO IDEA – SoCal’s coolest new band – did a charity gig in their Camarillo neighborhood, raising over $3k for Food Share. Musical rock stars AND fundraising superstars! Pictured (l-r) Three members of the band, Summer, Darwin and Lucas dropped by Food Share to deliver the proceeds of their gig
Lynn George has volunteered with Food Share since 2015. She spent 26 years in the Navy, retiring as a chief petty officer, following which she was the Administrative Officer at the Naval Construction Training Center in Port Hueneme until 2014. “Pay it forward” is her motto and she says that helping feed people in need in Ventura County has been one of the great joys of her life. Lynn has certainly brought a lot of joy to others with the many delicious, homemade, baked goods she has brought into the volunteer room over the years. Thank you, Lynn, for everything you do and have done for our community and county!
Judy Carnahan has volunteered with Food Share since 2015. She has been involved in numerous different volunteer activities from working in the garden, to bagging fresh produce, to packing emergency boxes, to helping out at events, often with the additional assistance of her husband of 46 years, Mike. Wow! Judy has a long history of helping others, including being a founding member of the Ventura Humane League, now known as the Canine Adoption & Rescue League. On behalf of our human and animal friends, thank you so much for everything you do, Judy!