Monterey Bay Football Club and Cardinale Automotive Group Come Together to Volunteer at The Food Bank for Monterey County
Monterey Bay Football Club (Monterey Bay F.C.) and Official Partner Cardinale Automotive Group came together as volunteers at The Food Bank for Monterey County to package Thanksgiving meals in Salinas this week, a helpful start to a desired goal of 50,000 meals ahead of the upcoming holiday. Ray Beshoff, majority owner of Monterey Bay Football Club, led the charge in the first of four shifts over two days and was joined by MBFC players Rafa Baca, Simon Dawkins, Alex Dixon, Chuy Enríquez, Max Glasser, Sam Gleadle, Carlos Herrera, Alex Lara, Ugo Okoli, Adrian Rebollar, Antony Siaha, and Nevello Yoseke, as well as members of the Club’s staff.
“This has been a great experience for all of my guys, they love doing stuff like this,” said Beshoff. “To actually see all of the work involved in an operation like this is terrific. We have four groups of players and staff volunteering over the next two days to help package Thanksgiving meals and it’s amazing how enjoyable it is. You can talk with the person next to you while you work and every time you fill a box you know you have helped somebody. We want to be involved in the community as much as possible, that’s what professional sports is all about. If you aren’t a part of your community and giving back, it’s really a lost cause. We have genuinely great guys who love what they do and enjoy giving back to the fans.”
Monterey Bay F.C. teamed up with multiple staff members from Cardinale Automotive Group, who have been helping the food bank for the past two years. Cardinale’s Blessed to Serve foundation has been around for over 10 years overall and started with a street-level effort to feed the homeless before ultimately expanding to all 26 Cardinale stores.
“We are Blessed to Serve, that’s our foundation and we’re hooked up with the Union,” explained Joe Cardinale, President of Cardinale Automotive Group and member of the Monterey Bay F.C. ownership group. “MBFC is doing great things and every chance we get we want to do more for the community. Seeing Ray [Beshoff] and all of the soccer players here is almost emotional. They are a great group and together with Cardinale, we try to do everything we can.”
The Food Bank for Monterey County is the largest, most comprehensive provider of emergency supplemental food in the area, serving over 160,000 Monterey County residents each month. The Food Bank for Monterey County’s mission is to end hunger and transform the health of the community in Monterey County, while also transitioning the county from one of the hungriest to one of the healthiest counties in all of California.
“It’s all hands on deck to reach our goal this week and we’re so grateful to have Monterey Bay F.C. here, it’s really exciting,” said Melissa Kendrick, CEO of The Food Bank for Monterey County. “This partnership really goes on all year because these soccer players are fabulous. They are at so many of our kids’ school sites, they go out with our produce truck, they go out to other distributions, and they are like rockstars. The kids just love to see them and take pictures with them, and it’s really good for promoting health. One of the biggest problems in the county is that we have such a high level of type 2 diabetes in children here, so we think of this food bank as the largest medicine cabinet in the county for a lot of those that we are serving. I can’t think of a better way to promote a healthy lifestyle than having these professional soccer players here, it’s absolutely wonderful.”
The Food Bank for Monterey County feeds one in three children and one in four Monterey County residents overall. In addition to providing 50,000 meals for this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Food Bank for Monterey County will provide an additional 50,000 for December holidays like Christmas. In total, the Food Bank for MC provides high-quality food, fresh produce, and educational and nutritional resources to over 160 local nonprofit members in its network – all of which is made possible by the dedication and commitment of local volunteers.
“It’s an amazing operation and I’m just happy to be a part of it. I woke up this morning truly excited to help and do my part in giving back to this community,” said Dawkins, MBFC midfielder. “We’ve been packing boxes with different types of foods, canned foods, mashed potatoes, things like that. I know this can be a difficult time of year for some people, so I’m happy to be a part of a project that makes sure everyone in this community is properly fed – it brings me a lot of joy.”
Monterey Bay F.C. was even joined by one of its pillar supporters’ group leaders in Salinas native Osbaldo Lucero. Lucero – who co-founded Fuerza Union, a Salinas-based MBFC supporters’ group – volunteered to help Union players and staff, and the staff from Cardinale, package the meals. Altogether, Lucero’s time, effort, and presence alongside the Club at the food bank this week defined what is special about this community and signified the impact that Monterey Bay F.C. has continued to make in the 831 as a whole.
“This has been a great experience, it’s nice to be able to give back to this community and I know everybody is excited about it,” said Dixon, MBFC forward. “I’ve been on box duty so far, but I’ve been seeing the guys packing up the dinners. It’s just cool to see everybody helping each other out and interacting. As a Club, we’re here to help. We’re happy to be a part of this community and we want to be involved and give back in as many ways as we can.”