1319 27th Street
11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday through Friday
(916) 446-2627
Executive Director
Eileen Thomas

River City Food Bank is an organization focused on supplying emergency food and shelter services to people who have experienced unfortunate setbacks, such as unexpected medical issues or car repairs, and are unsure of where they will find their next meal. Their mission is to be a safe and welcoming place for those who need their services, while instilling positive attitudes and self-reliance.

As stated on their website, their philosophy since 1968 is simple: "No one should be hungry."

See also other local services & organizations.

Why River City Food Bank?

River City Food Bank is unique to other food banks in many ways. According to their website, they are the only food closet that operates every weekday to provide nutritionally balanced food to people who live anywhere in Sacramento county. RCFB breaks the common mold of a food closet that serves only limited areas based on zip codes. They also differ from other food banks in that they put some extra effort into trying to send out a three-day supply of "nutritionally balanced" food, as opposed to sending families away with bags filled with unhealthy amounts of carbohydrates and junk food. RCFB concentrates on providing families in need with food that is healthy and more nutritious, and as they put it, "food that is fuel for children who are growing and in school, and fuel for hard-working adults!" Often also provided are recipes, in case a family is given an unfamiliar ingredient. River City Food Bank takes pride in its unique qualities that set it aside from other food banks in the Sacramento area.

Services Offered

River City Food Bank (RCFB) offers

  • A three-day supply of nutritionally-balanced food to families or individuals who report an income at or below the poverty line
  • Food services up to once a month
  • Non-food items such as diapers, baby food and formula to families with small children.
  • Monthly “Food for Fun” nutritional classes using common food closet staples.
  • Compassion, hope and the encouragement of self-reliance

Who We Help

According to their website, River City Food Bank is currently the only food bank in Sacramento County that is open every weekday to anyone experiencing hunger, regardless of where they live in the county, allowing for a large service area. Anyone with an emergency need is welcome at RCFB. To qualify for emergency food services, a family or individual must report an income at or below the poverty line. RCFB welcomes anyone in need of help, regardless of age, race, gender or family background.


Monetary Donations

As stated on their website, all donations and gifts are welcome and can be made in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Joining the River City Food Bank Circle of Friends by making a recurring online donation of $25 a month
  • Making a secure donation online
  • Donating over the phone
  • Donating by fax
  • Donating by mail
  • Giving gifts in-kind, or stocks, equities and other assets

While River City Food Bank purchases some important sources of good nutrition such as protein, according to their website, "donated food is what enables their volunteers to feed so many people on so little money."

Donations can be delivered during business hours, given by volunteer pickup, or donated at any Goodwill Xpress location in the Sacramento area.

The RCFB website lists the following as ways that people can help with donations:

  • Purchasing and donating $25 gift cards from area grocery stores
  • Organizing a food drive
  • Talking to local grocers about allowing you to collect food
  • Growing and donating fresh produce (tomatoes, squash, corn, fruits)
  • Collecting personal toiletries – small and family size – such as hand soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes and dental floss

Also stated are the following commonly-needed food supplies for donation:

  • Tuna (6 oz.)
  • Peanut butter (18 oz)
  • Pork & beans (14 oz.)
  • Hearty soups (10 oz.)
  • Canned tomatoes (14 oz.)
  • Canned fruit (14 oz.)
  • Macaroni and cheese packages
  • Diapers, formula and baby food
  • Link to list of food and baby items [link to Weekly Sales] currently on sale at area grocers, drug stores, etc.


Food Stamp Outreach

As stated on their website, River City Food Bank employs the only full-time Food Stamp Outreach Coordinator in Sacramento County. This position helps to overcome barriers that may prevent an eligible adult or family from applying for much-needed food assistance benefits. The Food Stamp Program generates $9.20 in economic activity at area retailers for every $5.00 in food stamp benefits in addition to supporting access to healthy foods for needy families. The program is funded by the Sierra Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and the California Association of Food Banks. To learn more about food stamps, request a pre-screen and receive one-on-one help with the application, families can go to the RCFB building during office hours or call the office at (916) 446-2627.

Nutritional Classes

River City Food Bank also provides monthly “Food for Fun” nutritional classes using common food closet staples in collaboration with the organization CARES. When clients recieve help with their food budget, they often find that other financial responsibilities, such as bills and other payments, become easier to take on and handle. According to the RCFB website, in many cases, after receiving aid, clients are also able to make payments toward an unexpected non-discretionary expense – particularly medical bills or a car repair. The RCFB nutrition education programs help clients improve food quality and food resource management.


According to their website, RCFB volunteers contribute 11,000 hours to stock food, prepare three-day food supplies, help with client intake and computer data-entry, and support administrative activities and education. Most volunteer opportunities are on weekdays. Volunteers work at the food closet, talk to local grocers about giving "shopping lists” to shoppers for donations that they can give after shopping, help with planning and support of the Empty Bowls program, write articles, assist with public relations, assist in the office, help with community education, and help with grounds and maintenance, among many other important jobs. Hopeful volunteers can also send and email to hear about more potential volunteering opportunities. For more information on volunteering, visit http://www.rivercityfoodbank.org


This report was written for Cynthia Linville's English 1A class at CSU Sacramento Fall 2011