From food program participants to volunteers, advocates to donors, our work is fueled by people who work each day towards a nourished, prosperous, and just community. Meet a few of us.
Since the pandemic forced us to work from home and attend high school virtually, we’ve been looking for ways to use our extra time in a safe and meaningful way.
We had volunteered at different food banks in the past, packing food and sorting donations. But because we have high-risk family members in our household, we didn’t feel safe to volunteer indoors. We were excited when we learned that ACCFB started the contactless food delivery program.
We spend about 3-4 hours a week picking up food boxes at the warehouse and delivering them at the doorsteps of people who cannot pick up food at distributions.
What has most surprised us is how widely spread the need for food assistance is in our community.
It has been a rewarding experience to know we can help people get fresh food when they cannot leave the house. Even though we cannot meet anybody in person for safety reasons, we enjoy the father and son time together in the car.
It is nice to think that our contribution of just a few hours a week makes a difference to people.
I moved from Texas last April for this job. The pandemic hit in March, so most staff were remote when I started. On my first day there were only three people in this room with 40 desks. Some days I’m the only person. I joke that I have the biggest office in the building!
Being a Program Coordinator is very satisfying. We have 350+ unique partners. We make sure they are supported while serving the community. COVID brought a rise in Food Bank clients, and since the Bay Area is very diverse we have a need for more language support. My first language is Spanish, which allows me to fill that gap.
You’d be surprised at how much goes into supporting our partners. I can’t do this without my colleagues who specialize in their own skills. It’s very quiet which is my “normal” but I’ve heard that once upon a time this space was booming with conversations. To me that is mind-blowing! I can’t wait to meet and greet my coworkers normally again.
When I was a child I was able to benefit from a similar program so I know that getting a meal is much more than what it looks like. It is an honor to now give back to my community. I get to go home and feel good about the work that we are doing every day.
I first learned about ACCFB in 2017 through my Boy Scout scoutmaster and have been volunteering ever since. The three hours of packaging fruits and sorting snacks goes by fast. It feels great serving others while still having a good time.
When I heard about Census phone banking, I was immediately interested, especially due to the lack of volunteer opportunities under the COVID lockdown.
Moreover, the Census is important. Because the data collected is used for the next decade, I was motivated to help as many people as possible. While volunteering, I realized just how diverse our community actually is. There were a number of residents whose native language was not English, so I was able to utilize my Spanish and Mandarin skills.
In total, I completed 54 hours of phone calls. I was truly blessed to be able to gather 20 high school students and collectively make over 2,000 calls.
In the future, I hope to pursue a medical career to continue supporting the community I have grown to love and understand.
I grew up loving to cook and learned from my grandmother in India. When I moved to the US, I wanted to continue those traditions and share my love of Indian spices and food. I started Sukhi’s from my home with my family’s help, and we now sell delicious Indian meals and snacks across the country. This was never just “work.” It was much more personal. It was, and still is, very much an integral part of our lives.
We realize the importance of giving back and helping others, especially since we couldn’t have made it this far without others helping us. We started donating to ACCFB in 2013 because we wanted to support the community that had supported us for so many years. It gives me so much joy to know that our food is going to those who truly will benefit from it and that I can share my love for Indian food in so many ways.
Over the years, we have built a great relationship with our friends at ACCFB, who are so passionate and committed to what they do. In 2020, we donated the equivalent of 46,000 meals. I am SO blessed that today I am able to GIVE BACK to this community.
With the unprecedented times we are living through right now, we need to come together more than ever! That is my hope for life after the pandemic – that we continue to be there for each other.
I’m a field service technician and before COVID, I was working up to 60 hours a week. First I was furloughed. Then they brought me back with limited hours. And eventually, they let everybody go.
It affected us a lot because we had to leave our house that we were renting. We had to move in with my mom and we got rid of a lot of stuff.
It’s been an adjustment.
My wife, Magy, is working part time in a warehouse, I’m not working — so we’re in need of food right now.
We’ve been coming to the drive-through distribution since the summer. My 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter are at the stage where they’re always hungry, so the food helps a lot.
We like the groceries that we get: milk, cheese, eggs, and the fresh produce. It’s a long line but it does move fast. That’s why we keep coming back here.
We’re actually thinking of volunteering with the Food Bank. That’s something we’ve always wanted to do and now we have the time for it.
Meet JP Hailer, Homies Empowerment
Homies Empowerment started 11 years ago as an after-school program for gang-involved youth. We now run a community center and are building a high school for youth who have been pushed to the margins. Our emancipatory work is rooted in Revolutionary Love, Sacred Identities, Putting In Work, and Self-Determination. Through liberatory schooling, community cultivation, food justice, and cooperative economics, we work alongside our community towards a world absent of coloniality, whiteness, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy.
We started working with ACCFB as an Emergency Response partner after we opened our FREEdom store, a pantry for food and essential items, in March 2020. And we recently became an ACCFB member agency.
The FREEdom store is open every Tuesday. By
8 a.m. each Tuesday, we have fresh produce boxes delivered while volunteers and staff set up tables and tents. By 9:30 a.m., we begin receiving prepared meals from local restaurants. We have a sacred circle to get grounded before sharing food, diapers, and more with our community. Our last families come through around 4 p.m. as we clean up and end with a closing circle.
The last year has taught me about community resilience, hope, and faith in the people to take care of one another, and the importance of relationships to provide for one another. The pandemic highlighted the reality of hunger in our communities, but this reality will still exist when we begin to move out of this time.
I hope that individuals and institutions see not only the suffering of communities, but the resilience and the solutions inherent in our people. We need to invest in community-based solutions for food insecurity and address the systemic issues that make hunger possible.
I managed live events for 15 years. I was rehearsing a theater show last March when it became obvious that events — and my career — would be put on hold.
I began volunteering in June to give back, and then joined as staff in October to run the Oakport drive-through distribution. After one day, I knew this was the “event” I was supposed to be managing.
We distribute food to 1,100 families every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each morning, as the sun rises, we start with an empty parking lot. Then from 9 a.m. on we load 50,000 pounds of food a day into clients’ cars, wave hi to kids, and thank them for coming by. And they thank us. “We” are 25 volunteers and 10 Hero Grant recipients — folks who lost their jobs due to COVID and are now working as heroes in our community.
I have done hundreds of events, but Oakport has been my most rewarding. Hopefully someday food insecurity will be a thing of the past and we can use the parking lot for a festival or a concert, but until then my role there will be making sure people can get the food they need.
Since hearing a call for volunteers on the news four years ago, Nicole taken on every role she can; from leading volunteer shifts, to helping at events, to distributing food at mobile pantries.
As she explained, “When your hear the Food Bank serves 1 in 5 people in our county—you realize that could be your neighbor, kids or seniors in your community.”