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Galt Herald

Sunshine Pantry Nears Funding Goal

Apr 04, 2024 09:00AM ● By Matthew Malone

Attendees at Sunshine Food Pantry’s empty bowls fundraiser ladle out soup. The pantry was raising funds for its planned building. Photo by Matthew Malone

Empty Bowls fundraiser [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
GALT, CA (MPG) - Sunshine Food Pantry moved even closer on March 30 to constructing a dedicated building for its community services, with an “empty bowls” fundraiser dinner.
Held in the Littleton Community Center on March 30, the dinner featured a smorgasbord of nine kinds of soups for supporters to fill their bowls with.
A raffle and silent auction offered dozens of prizes. In addition, guests could purchase ceramic bowls to bring home. Some of the bowls were made and donated by Galt local Doug Gibson.
Pantry Director Faye Gaines said the nonprofit organization is well on its way to completing fundraising.
“It won’t take too much more until we can break ground,” Gaines told the Herald, citing a $200,000 grant from Sacramento County and a $54,000 grant from Sacramento Municipal Utility District, as well as the group’s own fundraising. “We’re hoping, praying that within the next six months we have something we can move into.”
The pantry began its fundraising effort in October 2022, saying the current arrangement, in which it operates out of Galt United Methodist Church’s community room, is no longer sustainable. Its food storage needs have outgrown the space as it provides food to larger numbers of people than ever.
David Herburger, who heads the committee organizing the fundraising, said the pantry plans to use a manufactured home north of the Methodist church for its new building. His goal was to have the structure in place before the end of the year. The prefabricated building is different from the purpose-built structure that the pantry had originally envisioned, but Herburger said it would alleviate the space issues at the church.
“Basically, the goal is to have it as open as possible. The footprint is going to allow us 1,700 square feet of space, and then we’re going to augment it. We already have, for example, one container on site, and through the SMUD grant … we’re going to get a refrigerated container,” Herburger said.
Despite the increased numbers of clients — about 3,000 per month — the pantry’s main difficulty is storing its food.
“Oddly enough, storing the food has become the biggest obstacle,” Herburger said. “It’s not a question of finding it; it’s a question of storing it.”
The empty bowls fundraiser might become an annual event, Herburger said. It would help to finance the panty’s ongoing expenses.
Gaines spoke about what it would mean for the pantry to have its own space.
“Once we get in the new building, everything will be where it belongs, and it’ll have a home, and it’ll stay there, and  it will be much easier on our volunteers when we serve people,” Gaines said. 
“We’ll be very happy to have our own place to call the pantry.”