Foodbank Launches Campaign to Prepare New Sharehouse for Opening | Good for Santa Barbara

Posted on September 24, 2022
| 6:18 p.m

At the September 17 Sharehouse Festival, the Santa Barbara County Foodbank launched a four-month public campaign to support its new South County facility in Goleta.

The foodbank intends to raise $6 million by December 31 to fully outfit the new facility to serve its purpose: ensuring all county residents have access to the healthy food they need, no matter what whether that means low-income community members face daily hunger, or the entire community in the event of a large-scale disaster.

The new sharehouse at 80 Coromar Drive in Goleta is the culmination of a decade-long search for a comprehensive South County warehouse and office building.

“The name Sharehouse indicates that it will be more than just a warehouse; it will be an inclusive center where the community can share food, education and hope,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of Foodbank.

“Once it is fully operational in the summer of 2023, we will have a facility to provide the best possible service to the community in the future,” he said.

“With 10 times more cold storage, we can receive and distribute the 32,000 pounds of fresh fruit and veg that we currently turn away each week because our current warehouse is so small,” Talkin said.

“For the first time, we will also be able to have all the groceries we need to service southern Santa Barbara County should a disaster shut down Highways 101 and 154.”

The Foodbank opened the new Sharehouse to the community at the Sharehouse Festival on September 17 with remarks from Talkin and presentation of a Certificate of Congress from Rep. Salud Carbajal.

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Local elected officials attended the event, including staff from Carbajal’s offices, District Supervisors Joan Hartmann and Gregg Hart, Goleta Mayor, Pro Tempore, Kyle Richards, City Council members Roger Aceves, Stuart Kasdin and James Kyriaco, and City Council Member of Santa Barbara, Oscar Gutierrez.

The event included food tastings and cooking demonstrations by Executive Chef Preston Knox and his team at the Barbareño; Hands-on activities including kid-run hummus-making on the foodbank’s blender-bike led by foodbank partner Apples to the zuchini cooking school; Packing care bags for distribution to local homeless people; disaster preparedness demonstrations; and interactive warehouse tours.

The completed sharehouse will allow the Foodbank to serve the needs of the community with a fully operational warehouse and food storage facility, nutrition support center, volunteer space and administrative offices.

The Sharehouse campaign focuses on current educational issues such as Hunger Action Month in September (featuring “Dine Out For Hunger” with participating local restaurants), disaster preparedness in October and nutrition education in November.

Each month there is a special fundraiser day where matching gifts double all donations. These dates include Sharehouse Giving Day on October 13th and Giving Tuesday on November 29th.

Purchased in June 2021 with $3 million from Foodbank reserve funds and a loan from Montecito Bank & Trust, the sharehouse is still in need of significant modifications to its 57,000 square foot warehouse space to improve refrigeration, storage and transportation capacity and increase extend. and completed 20,000 square feet of office space for staff, educational advancement initiatives, and volunteer coordination and service.

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The foodbank has received matching grants from anonymous donors, the Bentson Foundation and the Ella Fitzgerald Fund, which match donations. To contribute any amount, community members can visit

In addition to individual donations, community members can support the Sharehouse by starting fundraisers with their neighbors, family, colleagues, and civic or faith groups or clubs at

Those who were unable to attend the Sharehouse Festival can watch a Sharehouse Virtual Tour and Videos event to watch interview videos, take the online tour, and learn more about the Sharehouse campaign. The online virtual tour and video event will be available on the Foodbank website throughout 2022.

The foodbank needs a new South County facility to address the challenges of space shortages, rising food insecurity and statewide disaster preparedness.

lack of space:

The foodbank’s current facility on Hollister Avenue is a former fire station that has “run” the foodbank for about 30 years, and which contains only 15 percent of South County’s food needs. Due to lack of space, the Foodbank refuses £32,000 of donated produce each week, out of a total of £80,000 of food it refuses for the same reason.

The foodbank currently transports groceries 72 miles, transacts eight times and stores them in four different locations for distribution to Southern County residents in need.

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Rising food insecurity:

During the pandemic, 130,000 people received food monthly. As a result, low-income residents continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing economic challenges such as persistently rising inflation, dramatically rising food, gas and utility costs, wage stagnation and under- or unemployment that linger in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Disaster Preparedness:

If an earthquake or fire shut down Highways 101 and 154, South County wouldn’t have emergency food. On any given day, more than 100,000 people in South County could be stranded, including those who work in South County but live in North County or at points south of the Santa Barbara County lines, as well as visiting tourists.

The Foodbank thanks the following organizations and individuals for their donations to purchase the Sharehouse: La Centra-Sumerlin Foundation; Riley and Susan Bechtel Foundation; California Department of Human Services; Paul and Patricia Bragg Foundation

Contributions from the following people and organizations made the Sharehouse possible: Ashish Bhutani and Leslie Sweem Bhutani; Sheila and Tom Cullen; Kate Edwardson; GA Fowler Family Foundation; Godric Foundation; Jim and Pamela Houck; Hutton Parker Foundation; Ann Jackson Family Foundation; Donald E and Sharon Lafler; Mericos Foundation; Hank and Mari Mitchel; John C. Mithun Foundation; Montecito Bank & Trust; Natalie Orfalea Foundation; Chuck and Missy Sheldon; Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation; Williams Corbett Foundation; Edwin and Jeanne Woods Family Foundation.

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