OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Charitable Foundation announced the Brother Benno Foundation and San Diego Food Bank as this year’s recipients of $22,000 in total grants on July 29 at El Camino Country Club.
This year the foundation awarded grants to organizations that help feed those in need. “It’s eye opening to go out to a community you think you know everything about,” Blake Kern, Oceanside Charitable Foundation board member, said. “I didn’t know the food — and access to food — need. It’s families with children. I’m not comfortable with people in our community going hungry.”
Grant recipient Brother Benno Foundation feeds the hungry daily hot meals and provides monthly food packs to those in need. “It will help energize those two programs,” Harold Kutler, Brother Benno Foundation president, said.
The tough economy has created more need. Eighty-five percent of those served by Brother Benno are families with children. “Last year we saw an increase of 30 percent,” Kutler said. “Morning meals for families went from 135 to over 200 and food packs increases are off the wall.”
Brother Benno distributes 2,200 food packs a month that supply families with five days of food. “The poor need help,” Kutler said. “The economy is murder.”
San Diego Food Bank is also a grant recipient and will work with Brother Benno to coordinate monthly delivery of 14,000 pounds of fresh local produce to add to family food packs. In addition San Diego Food Bank will provide onsite health, nutrition and community services information to families when they pick up their food. “We can extend our outreach in North County and reach out to Oceanside,” Vanessa Franco, San Diego Food Bank program director, said. “It’s helping real people with real problems.”
To select grant awardees the Oceanside Charitable Foundation grant team reviewed 11 applications, made on site visits, and honed down possible recipients to a short list of final applicants for foundation members to vote on.
In a few months the process will start all over again, Diane Nygaard, Oceanside Charitable Foundation chair, said. The yearly grant addresses the current pressing community need, which is reassessed each year by speaking to nonprofit agencies and community leaders. Then grant requirements are written with the year’s focus need in mind.
Oceanside Charitable Foundation raises funds specifically for Oceanside. Donations are split 50/50 between funding yearly grants and building an endowment for future needs. “It’s an impactful program that makes a difference,” Nygaard said.
“It’s of, by and for Oceanside,” Nygaard added. “Projects are restricted to those that benefit Oceanside residents.”
The organization’s goal is to raise $5 million so $250,000 can be awarded in grants each year. Funds come from donations and contributions of founding members. Founders pledge to give $1,000 or more each year for five years. Currently there are 65 founding members.