Local man grows food bank to serve needy in Contra Costa, Solano counties

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- A local man started out as a truck driver and worked his way up to executive director, but this is not a rags to riches story. It's a story about a Bay Area man who has dedicated his life to feeding the hungry by growing the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

In 2015 at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano it takes a forklift to organize the donations, in 1976 that was not the case.

"I'm hired as the truck driver. Our warehouse was a Safeway trailer parking in a church parking lot," he said. That year they distributed 36,000 pounds of food. Now, Sly walks these aisles as the executive director of a food bank that handed out 20 million pounds last year.

Nearly 400 people come to Solomon Temple in Pittsburg once a month to get groceries.

"I have three kids, so it helps a lot when you don't have much money, especially around the holidays," said Eugena Zaragoza.

The program director is Caitlin Sly, Larry's daughter.

"It really makes me very proud of all the work that he's done," Caitlin Sly said.

ABC7 News was there as Bank of America donated $25,000 to the Food Bank on Giving Tuesday. Another feather in Larry's cap, as is his connection to the Rotary Club of Concord.

"He's a fantastic guy and I really look up to what he's done and what he's built here, hunger never really goes away in a community and I feel really good knowing he's here," said Tyler Epting Rotary Club of Concord president.

When he started driving a truck at age 26 Sly didn't intend to make the Food Bank a life-long career. But now, he finds it very hard to walk away.

"There's just this whole strata of folks who need food. They need food assistance. They're having to make a decision of do they eat dinner or does their child eat dinner," Larry Sly said.

Sly didn't ask to be a star but he'll never stop asking for donations and volunteers to help feed the hungry.

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