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About this blog: A longtime newspaperman, I have been editor of the Pleasanton Weekly since it was launched Jan. 28, 2000. I was a reporter and Neighborhood News editor at the Chicago Tribune for 13 years, and previously a reporter for the Advance...  (More)

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Feeding the hungry in Alameda County

Uploaded: Jul 13, 2017
Feeding the hungry in Alameda County

The face of hunger has changed in America and Katherine Avila, food drive coordinator for the Alameda County Community Food Bank is speaking out on the need to do something about it. She told Realtors and their associates at a recent meeting of the Valley Real Estate Network that one in five Alameda County residents need some kind of assistance. An estimated 20% of the county’s population wonders where their next meal will come from.

It’s even worse in these summer months when schools are closed. For many families, Avila points out, affordable and often free school meals are a critical part of making sure low-income children have consistent access to healthy food.

“When there’s no school, there are no school meals,” Avila said. “Bridging this gap puts an enormous burden on families that are already stretched to make ends meet. For some, it’s simply unachievable. The choices they face -- food or rent, food or medicine, food or gas to get to work -- are decisions no one should have to make.”

That's why the county Community Food Bank is now sponsoring its “Fields to Family” campaign, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to help children, adults and seniors. In fact, donations made to this “Summer Produce Challenge” are being matched through tomorrow, July 15, dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000 by food bank sponsors.

Established in 1985, the Community Food Bank is a fast-growing, dynamic organization at the forefront of hunger?relief efforts in the Bay Area. As one of the most efficient, direct-impact organizations in the country, few nonprofits are as well-respected – or make such an impact on the community – than this organization. It was ranked among the top 2% of nonprofits nationwide by Charity.

Avila said the Food Bank serves 116,000 people each month -- primarily children and seniors -- and distributes enough food for 25 million meals through its innovative programming and extensive network of 240 food pantries, soup kitchens and other community partner organizations.

“We’re forward thinkers who encourage innovation in our work,” she told Realtors. “We change lives and we’re having fun doing it!”

But the Food Bank needs more than money to meet the summertime surge in the number of hungry households. Its warehouses are currently packed fresh nectarines, plums, broccoli and much more.

“Right now, we have tons of food to help fill that gap, but we are in critical need of more helping hands,” Avila said, in urging Realtors and others to consider spending just three hours with the organization packing bags and boxes of food.

“We simply can't do our work without our volunteers' time and energy,” she added.

The face of hunger has changed,” Avila said. It can be a senior citizen in a book club at the Pleasanton Senior Center who can’t pay for her prescriptions and also the food she needs, a student at UC Berkeley who’s so short of funds that he uses his food budget fund to stay enrolled, or even a family in a spacious home whose wage earners are suddenly unemployed and no longer have enough food on the table.

The Community Food Bank will hold a public fundraiser to launch its fall campaign on Sunday, Sept. 17 at Wente Vineyards. For more information and to learn how to donate time and contributions to the Food Bank, sign on to www.accfb.org/
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

For several years I donated to several charities in the area and out of the area. I was burned by the Wounded Worriers Project, and did not donate another dollar to any organization last year.

Alameda County Food Bank was one of the locals I donated to. I may reconsider to start a donation again to the Alameda County Food Bank. But, I need some assurance my money is absolutely spent on food.

Would my assurance of food purchase be affirmed with a once a quarter shopping trip of $100 each quarter for food purchase with Katherine Avila personally receiving that food from me, providing me the receipt for that food?

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 14, 2017 at 8:18 am

I've found it more helpful to take in actual food...cans, dry goods, fresh veggies, milk, eggs, etc.

I NEVER give money because there's a history of cash not being used for the intended purpose.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Karl Aitken, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Jul 14, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Cholo - Are you making general comments or do you have actual facts about Alameda County Community Foodbank wasting money? Unless you have facts, you shouldn't spread damaging innuendo.

Michael -

From my experience, Alameda County Community Foodbank has very low admin costs and I believe over 90% of dollars go to food and services provided. They really do an excellent job for the people in out county that need the help. You should go take a look at their operations near the Oakland airport. I'm sure they would be happy to provide financial details.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm

When fellow Americans are hungry, I believe that I have a responsibility to provide assistance. It feels good to do good deeds in behalf of fellow human beings.

I also volunteer to bathe doggies at shelters. Love it and so do the dogs!
Puppies are especially fun and after a bath, they will bite you if you're not careful.

I also support a few seniors in my cooking group and will always help out others interested in fishing, they are always welcome on trips as long as they don't talk too much.

This country has given me a good life and with a bit of luck, I'm now in a position to help others. I don't care if the folks in need are legal or illegal residents.

When money is put into the hands of untrustworthy people, I feel best when I offer food to needy fellow Americans.

Sorry you are so worried what I know and how I behave. chill out...

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

If I walk into a Safeway or Lucky, purchase $100 in non perishable foods, I may walk out with two bags of food.

Does the Alameda County Food Bank have an outlet where they can purchase $100 in non perishable food and achieve a greater volume of food, then I am able to purchase at Safeway or Lucky?

If so, may I be directed to that source, make my $100 purchase of non perishable food and hand deliver it to the Alameda County food bank?

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