On Thursday, November 30 the Los Angeles Rams and SoCal Honda joined together to build a 15-foot Christmas tree made of canned foods to help kick off FOOD Share's 6th Annual CAN-tree Drive. The "tree" was purchased with a $5,000 donation from the Rams Foundation and a $5,000 RAMdom Act of Helpfulness from SoCal Honda Dealers.
The initiative also was in celebration of long-time FOOD Share volunteer, David Bayer, a former Ventura City Firefighter who has been named the Rams' most recent Community Quarterback winner. Since retirement, Bayer has been supporting FOOD Share's cause for nearly 15 years, volunteering at least three days a week on a regular basis and donating more than 3,2000 volunteer hours since 2002.
"Voluntary service is so important to me because I worked for the city fire department for 32 years and they were very good to me," said Bayer. "When I retired, I just didn't want to be that old guy who used to work for the fire department. I wanted to be somebody different and it seemed like being a volunteer would be natural."
His lifetime of voluntary service was officially recognized by the Rams on Tuesday, November 21, when Rams Defensive Back and Ventura County native TROY HILL visited FOOD Share in Oxnard to surprise Bayer with news of being selected as a Community Quarterback.
"It was a big surprise," said Bayer. "I was volunteering and they showed up with the award, and I wasn't really sure what it was until I noticed the check. It's awesome and I'm proud to represent FOOD Share. Because we're part of Feeding America, we're able to turn the money into five times as much. So the check was for $5,000, so it'll be $25,000 worth of food. We feed 74,000 people a month with a million pounds of food, so it'll go a long way towards helping the 1 and 6 (who are food insecure) in Ventura County."
SoCal Honda Helper Belle Cordero has been providing random acts of helpfulness for the Southern California Community for nearly five years. She enjoys seeing firsthand the benefits she provides to others through the work Honda and their partners do to give back. With the CAN-tree Drive in particular, Cordero enjoyed working with the Rams to honor their final Community QB winner and support FOOD Share's cause as they worked in unison to organize thousands of Rams-branded food cans into the shape of a large Christmas tree.
"We were honored to provide a special RAMdom Act of Helpfulness," said Cordero. "We're excited to be a part this event with the final winner David Bayer and FOOD Share. We appreciate being able to give back to others and recognize individuals who are also helpful in their own community and we're honored to be working with the LA Rams."
"The Community Quarterback program is special to the Rams," said Molly Higgins, Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement for the Rams. "In the game of football, we all know how critical the quarterback position is to the success of the team. A great quarterback makes everyone else around him better. With the Community Quarterback Award, we are recognizing amazing citizens who contribute to the success of our community and make our society better. David is a great example of a "community quarterback" — a long time public servant as a firefighter, who is now an outstanding non-profit volunteer – still benefiting our community."
FOOD Share is a 501©3 not for profit dedicated to feeding, nourishing and educating the hungry of Ventura County and the community about those who are hungry and why, as well as advocating a reduction of the root causes of hunger. The organization distributes millions of pounds of healthy food every year both through their own programs as well as through distribution via their partner agencies.
The Community Quarterback Award celebrates outstanding individuals who display strong leadership abilities, and a passion for bettering his or her community. Individuals above the age of 13 may be nominated as long as they serve in a volunteer role and are not compensated for their efforts.
Since the program's inception, the Rams have donated more than $330,000 to community organizations through this initiative. The program is presented with the SoCal Honda Dealers.
For more information about the Rams Community Quarterback program, please visit therams.com/community.