Helping Hand Program - Feeding the Hungry from the STEAC Food Closet

STEAC lends a helping hand by providing every day needs for the most vulnerable residents in Davis. STEAC has been distributing food in Davis since 1971.

STEAC Food Programs Facts

2017-2018 Fiscal Year download fact sheet

How STEAC fights hunger in our community:

  • 57,000 meals distributed from our food closet.
  • 20,000 meals delivered to families in rural communities.
  • 4,500 meals deliverd to seniors in low-income housing.
  • 2,000 bags of food distributed to school children to stave off weekend hunger.

Where does the food come from?

  • Of the 130,000 lbs of food STEAC distribued, 90,000 lbs were donated.
  • To fill the gap, STEAC spent $47,000 on food, much of it fresh produce, meat and dairy.

What is the need?

  • 1 in 6 neighbors in Yolo County is at risk of hunger.
  • Over 18% of children in Yolo County may not know where their next meal will come from.
  • In Davis, 29% of the population is experiencing poverty. Of those 19,000 people, only a small portion are served by our food programs. There are many we still need to reach.
(Data credit: Map the Meal Gap 2016, 2016 US Census/Yolo County HHSA 2018)

How can you help?

  • Join over 500 volunteer donors who contribute food every two months through the STEAC Food Project.
  • Join over 75 volunteers who staff and support our food closet, providing food closet baskets to clients. Volunteer Application
  • Join our community partners like: Boy Scouts, Postal Workers, Davis Realtors, schools and religious organizations by sponsoring a food drive or donating money to STEAC's food programs.
  • Donate money online or by sending a check in the mail.


STEAC relies on several major food drives, direct purchases, and direct donations to supply the STEAC Food Closet.

The food drives are sponsored by the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, the US Postal Service, the congregation of Bet Haverim, the public schools in Davis, Davis realtors, and the Davis Covenant Church. In addition, the STEAC Food Project, started in 2015, is an important and growing source of donated food from the Davis community.

Direct purchases are made at the following locations: Grocery Outlet in Davis, Food 4 Less in Woodland, The Davis Food Co-op, and the Yolo County Food Bank in Woodland.

Direct donations are made by various groups, organizations, and individuals. These include St. Martins' Church, Davis Methodist Church, and Davis Lutheran Church, the Nugget Market, Panera, Community Harvest of Davis, and the Davis Farmers' Market.


To provide a more stable source of food donations and meet the growing demand from individuals, family and homeless, the STEAC Food Project has been created. The project is modeled after a neighborhood-based efforts being used with great success in over 40 communities in the U.S. and Canada.

Benefits of the STEAC Food Project:

  • It increases the quality and quantity of food collected and provides a regular supply to supplement our food drives.
  • It broadens community support for the food closet.
  • It allows STEAC to expand perishable food purchases by reducing nonperishable food costs.

For more information about the STEAC Food Project, and how to get involved, CLICK HERE


Client Profile

  • Clients are Davis residents and a small group of Winters families.
  • The majority of the clients are families with children or impoverished seniors.
  • Recent Examples: (1) A low-income family of five recently relocated to Davis. They applied for benefits in Yolo County but red tape held up the process. STEAC's food closet was the only resource they had for receiving food for the family; (2) After realizing a student was missing meals, a school teacher referred a family who received food immediately from STEAC's closet.

Client Appointment Process

  • All clients are served by appointment only; clients are screened and referred by local social service agencies.
  • On average, there are 5 client appointments per day. Clients come on weekdays during a two-hour period in the morning and a two-hour period in the afternoon. Clients can receive this service no more than once per month.
  • The food closet is staffed by over 50 volunteers who meet the clients and pack the food.
  • Clients pick up food and do not linger as much of their food is perishable and must be refrigerated.
  • At the new food closet, clients will be directed, verbally and through signage, to arrive at the church and proceed down the driveway through the parking lot to the location of the closet.
  • A modest amount of client traffic flow is expected, with little effect on the current traffic or the parking situation in the neighborhood or church property.

Personal Stories from Volunteers

  • A single mother who grew up on a farm and appreciated fresh produce called to say she was so thankful for the farmers market vegetables provided by the food closet. It was the first time her refrigerator had been full in weeks and she was able to feed her children a healthy meal.
  • A single mother whose husband abandoned her and her four children told the volunteer that the food made all the difference in their lives. She was sincerely grateful. Her smile was a great "thank you" for the volunteer.
  • An elderly man in his 80's came to the closet. After a few minutes he began to share World War II stories with the volunteer who guessed she might have been the only person he had spoken to that day. He was a sweet man and the volunteer was moved by his stories, knowing that he was proud to be a veteran and that it was probably hard for him to ask for food.
  • One volunteer was told it was the birthday of the 6-year old boy of the family she was helping. Rather than offer them a cake mix, she took it upon herself to pick up a freshly backed cake on her way to the food closet. The family, and especially the little boy, were very touched by her kind gesture.
  • Several volunteers commented that the best part of working at the STEAC food closet is seeing how sincerely thankful the families are, the smiles they receive, and the gratitude expressed for the individual sincere kindness shown to each person that is helped.