As mentioned on our blog earlier this month, the best way to promote change is through modeling the way with energy and enthusiasm. As a consulting firm committed to social justice, we spend each day working with our clients to best serve those in need. To further this commitment and to understand some of the hard work being done to support underserved populations, we dedicate a day out of our schedules to giving back to our community here in Oakland. In years past, RDA staff have worked to improve parks and other public spaces across the city. For this year’s Volunteer Day, we spent the day sorting and packing fresh produce at the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
Going into the day, we were particularly excited to work at the Food Bank. Since 1985, the Food Bank has been the hub of a vast collection and distribution network that now provides food for 240 nonprofit agencies in Alameda County.
In 2015, the Food Bank distributed 25 million meals — more than half of the food was fresh fruits and vegetables. So far this year, they have averaged over 540,000 meals a week! Their goal by 2018 is to ensure every food insecure child, adult, and senior in Alameda County knows where their next meal is coming from. Since moving into their permanent facility near the Oakland Airport in 2005, the Food Bank has ramped up distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables by more than 1,000%.
The Food Bank’s services are particularly important in the Bay Area, where the skyrocketing cost of living puts a strain on family finances. As residents struggle to feed themselves and their family, hard choices must be made between buying food and meeting basic needs like housing, medicine, transportation, or childcare. In fact, research shows it takes a family of four $81,621 to meet the basics in the Oakland metro area. Yet 65 percent of the Food Bank’s clients have incomes of less than $28,290.
Arriving early in the morning, RDA staff sorted produce of all kinds, including carrots, nectarines, and peaches. The day was a great success, and we helped as the Food Bank prepared the equivalent of over 22,000 meals for families in need. This represented over 13 tons of produce, including:
We appreciate the Food Bank for allowing us the opportunity to lend a helping hand and we look forward to continuing to support our community here in the East Bay.