By Jeff San Gabriel, Lead Volunteer

Jeff San Gabriel, Lead VolunteerThree years ago, my company sponsored a group volunteer day at ACCFB. I enjoyed the experience so much, I started volunteering monthly on my own.

When California went into lockdown in March 2020, not only was I furloughed from my job but I was also shut out of my volunteer opportunities. I jumped at the chance to get out of my house and back into the community when volunteering started up again in June 2020.

At first, I expected that I would go into the Community Engagement Center and sort food for eight hours a day. What I didn’t realize was that over the next 18 months, I would meet an extraordinary group of volunteers who share the same sense of duty to our region. I ended up growing into a lead volunteer role, three days a week, at ACCFB’s Drive-Through Pantry distribution in Oakland. Together, we distributed 11 MILLION pounds of food from March 2020 to December 2021.

Lead Volunteer Jeff made a huge impact at our Drive-Through Pantry distributionIn March 2021, I contracted COVID-19 and had to quarantine. When I was able to resume my post, I was greeted with words of relief and encouragement from my friends, grateful that I was able to overcome my bout with COVID.

When we moved the Drive-Through Pantry distribution into the heart of Oakland at the beginning of 2022, we started seeing more people from the neighborhood walking up and requesting food. Whether or not our site is seen from the freeway, folks are finding out about us. Either by car or on foot, many in our community are still food insecure.

I’m glad that ACCFB is here to help and I’m happy to do my part alongside.

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Read more in our Spring 2022 Community Harvest.