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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: AIDS, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Food Programs, Health

Mission: Food for thought's mission is to nourish and serve our community by providing healthy food and compassion to people living with hiv/aids and other critical illnesses.

Programs: The food and nutrient bank program provides food and nutrition services to sonoma county residents with hiv and other life-threatening illnesses. Our services include weekly groceries, fresh produce, protein-rich foods (beef, chicken, fish, and tofu), high calorie nutritional supplements, vitamins, prepared meals (for those unable to cook), and county-wide delivery to 750 clients. All services are provided free of charge. In 2014 we distributed more than 16,000 weekly orders, which provided enough food for 350,000 meals.

the project africa program partners with hope initiatives south africa - namibia providing consultation and education about feeding persons with hiv/aids, as well as grants to feed children from namibian settlements hardest hit by the aids pandemic.

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I would recommend Food Food for Thought to anyone in need of their services or anyone looking for a rewarding, meaningful and well-run organization to volunteer at or donate to. I have been volunteering and donating to them for quite a few years now and they truly provide a compassionate, fun, healthy and welcoming environment for their clients, people suffering from HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. It's not your typical food bank - they have a small, dedicated staff that hold creative fundraising events, harvest food from their own garden and offer nutritional support, deliveries, and service in Spanish for their clients

Review from Guidestar

1 LucyBarnett

Advisor

Rating: 5

I delivered groceries from Food For Thought to a friend with AIDS in the late 80's. It was a tiny organization then serving a handful of folks in need. I've attended their events through time and was pleased to see them grow and serve hundreds more clients over time. It wasn't until recently I got to observe their operations and meet the staff. As a long time fund raiser for nonprofits, I was impressed with the quality of their food delivery system, the caring and compassion of the volunteers and staff and the professionalism with which they conduct business. The negative comments I read do not reflect the reality I see in this gem of a nonprofit. More agencies could learn from them! Lucy Barnett

2 Ron_30

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As I client/volunteer I say thank you many times over for being there when I really needed your support at dealing with this scary issue of HIV/AIDS.
Through their dedication to the details it is easy to understand why they have been servicing those of us in need for the past 25 years.
KEEP UP TO LOVING WORK FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!!!

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A close family member with HIV became a client of Food For Thought. At the time he was really down and struggling. Not only did he receive healthy food; He was treated with respect, community and dignity at no cost. FFT's education was a giant help. As he started to feel better he became a volunteer. Next he was able to go back to work. He continues to serve at Food For Thought. Today HIV is only a small but real part of his life and he takes care of it. He is into serving others and becoming a useful, independent man. I am grateful to Food For Thought. What a difference it made in my son's life.

2 other things
The program is well run and effective with very few paid staff. It has a large volunteer base of support.
Their organic garden is out of this world and is a vital part of their food program.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 1

Once great agency now tainted with bad management practices. True number of ACTIVE clients served is 325, not the 650 as touted. Think twice about where you are sending your donation dollars the next time one of their clients pulls into their parking lot to get his free food in his brand, spanking new Mercedes SUV--because clients are never asked to show financials and a good number of them are NOT living in poverty. Client services manager sees tracking such a thing as a daunting task--she's too busy with self-importance. Latest Endowment gift nearing 2 mill and still the clients are served the same old tired food options. Current staff cold and emotionless. Board ineffective at managing its faltering ED. Control freak diva is breathlessly waiting in the wings to slip into the ED role so as to continue her desperate ego-feeding frenzy. Stewart is rolling in his grave. Wake up people, it ain't 1995 and this is not the once-important grassroots agency that achieved magic and greatness in its well-run, heartfelt day. Know someone living with AIDS? Write them a personal check or take them to your favorite natural foods store each week instead of donating to this place. Open a friendly drop-in center when clients can visit and volunteers can socialize with them and serve them healthy foods AND, then, sugary treats if that makes their day and makes them smile. Until this food bank shapes up and remembers its grassroots, it's not worth the time, trouble or your hard earned dollars. They eat their wounded.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I'm very suspicious of several of the 5-star reviews. Why are 25 of the 32 reviews all in June 2010 and all 5-star ratings by "volunteers"? Why this sudden rush of favorable reviews in one month? It gives the impression that someone was trying to load your rating system. It is true that the director's salary is over $90,000/yr, which is one of the highest paid non-profit salaries in this area and a significant portion of the total budget. Also the website claims that 85% "of your donation will reach our clients through our services" but that is misleading since the "services" include a portion of the salaries of the director and salaries of the paid employes for their time in providing client services (as distinguished from fund raising, for example).

3

Volunteer

Rating: 1

A once great organization that has been hijacked by people with a completely different agenda that it's original mission statement. Excessive wages and superfluous employees earning as much as $100,000.00 per year have bloated the budget and has reduced the amount of money spent on food to a pathetic 25% of it's budget. (When I started ten years ago overhead was 10%! now it's 75%!) Add many questionable alliances with entities such as Ocean Song and the Occidental Arts and Ecology center and you have an organization that has no direction other than the pathetic Directors fantasies and have NOTHING to do with being an AIDS food bank and this is why FFT is now a failing organization as it uses AIDS as a fundraiser for other non AIDS related stuff.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had never heard of this organization until last week. I went to a dining event at my favorite restaurant and was approached by one of their volunteers. It seemed a little odd but she was so kind and engaging that we wanted to know more. She was knowledgeable and passionate about the organization. We felt like we needed to make a donation. I look forward to getting to know them even more.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 2

Started with a minuscule overhead ratio whereby about 95% of any cash given went directly to food purchase. Has now been bloated with Five officious full time employees and two part timers. Wages have bloated inching toward 30% of budget and food expenditures dive toward the 20% level.

Review from Guidestar

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Food for Thought serves over 600 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County with food, nutritional services, moral support, connections, and hugs. Clients can receive services on a weekly basis, either by coming into the Food Bank or having groceries delivered if they are too ill to come in or have no transportation. FFT has been around for 20 years and because of this amazing organization, clients have access to nutrition so important to their health, and moral support so important to their morale.