It’s easy to take for granted the ability to drive to a nearby grocery store to fill our cupboards. Unfortunately, thousands of Alameda County residents are homebound, including seniors, new parents, and people with disabilities. These numbers increased when the pandemic hit and many of us had to stay home to quarantine.
The Food Bank quickly adapted, and we created our Home Delivery Program for anyone not able to leave home to get critical nourishment. It turned out to be so impactful that the program is now a permanent part of the Food Bank’s services.
Every month, the Food Bank fields hundreds of requests for home-delivered groceries – providing nearly 150,000 meals’ worth of food to 3,235 households during Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. This includes an 81-year-old living in senior housing in Oakland whose only income is $523 per month from Social Security. They said, “I have bad knees. I get tired, and it’s hard to walk. I live on the sixth floor; getting out is very difficult for me. I was receiving Meals on Wheels, but I prefer to cook my own food. I like to feel independent.”
With the support of many contributors , including Anthem Blue Cross, we purchased two new vans and hired two staff to keep this program running. We can now dispatch groceries to somebody who just came home from the hospital to an empty cupboard today and set up long-term deliveries for a homebound senior who might not qualify for other programs. Our Home Delivery Program is an example of how we’ve pivoted during the pandemic and added services to respond to the changing needs of our community.