Source: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
Teen brothers Jacob and Joseph Mansbach have spent a decade building a movement to challenge food insecurity in our community. Leading their JOIN JACOB triathlon team to compete annually in local triathlons and to raise funds to support the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the brothers never lost sight of their shared goal of providing one million meals to local families and children.
“Jacob and Joseph have inspired hearts and minds around this county since they were little kids,” shared Erik Talkin, CEO of Foodbank SB County, “They put it all on the line every year with a remarkable focus on giving back.”
Jacob and Joseph competed in the 2021 Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 28th and have continued raising awareness in the weeks since. Thanks to donations raised with the community, JOIN JACOB has reached their goal of $125,000 in donations for the Foodbank and one million meals for the county.
The JOIN JACOB triathlon team began competing in 2012, when then-8-year-old Jacob Mansbach tried his first Santa Barbara Triathlon with the challenge to raise money for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County to help kids at risk of hunger. Since then, Jacob and his younger brother Joseph (who took on his first triathlon at age 7) have completed several local triathlons each year with their JOIN JACOB team.
Over the years, the boys have competed in 28 triathlons including the Santa Barbara Triathlon, Carpinteria Triathlon, Kendra’s Race Triathlon (UCSB), March Triathlon Series (Cal Poly), and the Breath of Life Triathlon in Ventura. For two years, the brothers achieved Santa Barbara Triathlon’s Club 53.3 level, completing the long course triathlon on a Saturday followed by the sprint course the next day for a total of 53.3 miles of swimming, biking and running combined.
Now a 17-year-old high school senior and 15-year-old sophomore at the Anacapa School in Santa Barbara, Jacob and Joseph have consistently worked to raise awareness and funds to ensure local kids have enough to eat. And the brothers are not stopping with one million meals.
“Reaching one million meals is amazing and we can’t forget that people still struggle to put food on the table for themselves and their families every day,” said Joseph. “We are lucky to be in a place to share and give. Food insecurity is everywhere and it’s often a surprise for people to realize that it’s such a problem in Santa Barbara County.”
When asked how he feels about reaching one million meals Jacob shared, “This is about a community giving and giving and giving. We’ve had hundreds of kids and their parents join us for triathlons and thousands of hours of volunteer sessions. Bringing people together to challenge food insecurity has been the focus all along.”
Jacob has taken food insecurity seriously since the second grade when he learned that one in eight children in his school were food insecure. For his capstone project at Anacapa School this year, Jacob is combining his love of engineering and problem solving with his passion for challenging food insecurity by designing a software program to connect restaurants, grocery stores and other providers of food with the Foodbank and its partners to connect donatable food to those in need.
“Food rescue and recovery is the next hurdle in the solution to food insecurity. We can use software to create a marketplace to move food quickly from the providers to the customers and change lives for people challenged by food insecurity,” said Jacob.
Jacob’s food recovery project is not limited to Santa Barbara County. “My hope is to build a solution that can work in every community, in every state, across the country. We can do a better job for the people in our communities with the food we already have, and help us all to live better, healthier lives.”
The community can support the Mansbach brothers’ JOIN JACOB fundraising effort at FoodbankSBC.org/JoinJacob21.
About the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is transforming health by eliminating hunger and food insecurity through good nutrition and food literacy. The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through a network of more than 300 partner agencies, nutrition education programs and food distributions operated by the Foodbank, and volunteers. Over the last 20 months, our response to the Covid-19 economic crisis has included distributing 28 million pounds of food, making 65,000 home deliveries of healthy groceries to seniors and adults with disabilities, and launching new services in high-poverty areas, such as our Healthy Farmworkers program. For many people in our community, recovery from the economic crisis of the last 18 months will take a long time. With the community’s continued support, the Foodbank will continue to improve the health of local residents to drive economic recovery. For more information, visit www.foodbanksbc.org.