Support Sonoma County's Emergency Food Network

Connecting Sonoma, Supporting Farmers and Restaurants

Support Sonoma County's Emergency Food Network image


raised towards $200,000 goal




Connecting Sonoma, Supporting Farmers and Restaurants

We need your donation more than ever...

Working with our food network of hundreds of restaurants, farms, and food producers in Sonoma County, we have changed our disaster model to allow restaurants to continue to operate while serving nearly 10,000 meals to seniors and food insecure families each week.

PO BOX 452, SANTA ROSA, CA 95402

Instead of our usual model of gathering hundreds of chefs and volunteers to cook together, this social-distancing model is a win-win for local businesses and those in need. Working with trusted non-profit partners like Council on Aging, La Luz, Corazon, Vintage House and many others get professionally made restaurant-quality meals for their clients.

Sonoma Family Meal’s fundraising efforts have resulted in significant grants from Sonoma County, The John Jordan Foundation, United Way of the Wine Country and other private donors, kickstarting our efforts. However, we estimate needing up to $1 million to continue to feed Sonoma County’s most vulnerable through June 2020.

Restaurants are paid $8 per meal by SFM, which allows them to employ a small staff and continue operations. SFM currently has 17 restaurant partners, employing nearly 100 staff. 

“These meals mean that our staff will have hours and normalcy in their lives right now,” said Amber Balshaw of Preferred Sonoma Catering who provides daily meals for Catholic Charities, Council on Aging, SAY and others.

Coronavirus has already taken a huge toll on thousands of Sonoma County's most vulnerable residents. Whether they're seniors in isolation, workers suddenly without a paycheck, undocumented workers or just your next door neighbor, there are hungry people in our community that need food right now.

Not tomorrow. Or the next day. Now.

Over the last three years, Sonoma Family Meal served more than 250,000 chef-made meals to Sonoma County disaster survivors. And we're at it again.

As of 3/19/20 SFM is donating $10,000 of grocery gift cards to local agencies serving the most vulnerable populations. We are partnering with Single Thread Restaurant to serve hundreds of meals in the early weeks of this emergency, we're firing up the soup pot, and will continue to find new ways to feed Sonomans as the coronavirus continues to be both an economic and human crisis.

We plan to open our kitchen to a skeleton crew next week.

What we need now is money to continue to help. So donate already. Need more incentive? Read on...

Why Us?

Good question. Sonoma Family Meal is a VOLUNTEER-run organization with few overhead costs. We don't pay a CEO or a volunteer coordinator or any of that. We pay one female chef to lead our operations.

Your money is paying for ingredients, our farmers, to gift cards for local grocers, food packaging, fixing our oven and the like. We're so scrappy it hurts.

We don't make people fill out forms. We work with local non-profits who know their clients to make sure the food gets to the right people. Forms are irritating in the best of times.

We don't get lots of big corporate donations or grants. Mostly we get amazing $25 or $100 donations from the community. Not that there's anything wrong with being big. We just like being little.

Thanks to the generosity of people like you, we were able to pay nearly $14,000 to local farmers, processed 4 tons of food and created more than 8,000 chef-made meals for evacuees and first responders during the Kincade Fire. Our work continued for more than a month after the fire, with "Fill Your Fridge" events.

During the Tubbs wildfire we served more than 100,00 meals over three weeks without a cent to our name -- just the kindness of the restaurant community.

I think we made a pretty good case for ourselves? Right? Okay, then donate. I got a non-profit to run.

xoxo Heather Irwin/Founder and CEO